Alarming new study on colon cancer and millennials; UTMC doctor explains why

Alarming new study on colon cancer and millennials; UTMC doctor explains why

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - There is startling new information about colon cancer.

It turns out men and women aged 50 or older aren't the only ones to be concerned. Their 20-something child should also be worried.

Now that we've turned the calendar to March, it's Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

A report by the American Cancer Society should have millennials paying close attention.

The study was led by researchers from The American Cancer Society and just published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

It shows that people born in 1990 or after have double the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of getting rectal cancer than their parents' generation or people born around 1950.

That means Millennials and Generation Xers should no longer brush it off as a potential danger.

Dr. Stephanie Pannell, a colorectal surgeon at the University of Toledo Medical Center, said colorectal cancer rates are down when all ages are considered.

But she also believes it's time to start talking about lowering the recommended age to get a colonoscopy. She said it's now 50-years-old or 45-years-old for African Americans.

Pannell told us there are a number of reasons why it's happening to younger adults.

"Certain things like excessive alcohol intake, excessive tobacco use, lack of exercise and obesity are definitely risk factors that do lead to colon and rectal cancer. But I think not being aware of the signs and symptoms and being alert that this could be a cancer, often may delay in the diagnosis," Dr. Pannell said.

Dr. Pannell said the study is very alarming and means anyone in their 20s or 30s should see their doctor immediately if they notice potential symptoms, like hemorrhoids or rectal bleeding.

Follow WTOL:  

Download our app here

Copyright 2017 WTOL. All rights reserved.