New research shows colon cancer victims are younger than ever be - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

New research shows colon cancer victims are younger than ever before

(WAFF) -

The number of people who are dying from colon cancer had been falling for decades.

Now a new report finds the trend is reversing -- and victims are younger than ever before.

Research from the American Cancer Society shows since 2004, colorectal cancer deaths have been on the rise. But there’s puzzling, new information doctors don’t understand.

A report published in JAMA shows diagnoses and deaths are going up in younger, white Americans; and down in younger, black Americans.

Dr. Suresh Karne, a doctor at Huntsville Hospital's Digestive Disease Center, said he’s seen plenty of young patients with colon cancer.

"I’ve seen colon cancer in all ages. Some had just graduated from law school, some had just started their businesses, some just married, just about to have their child. That leaves a huge impact on us,” he said.

Dr. Karne said many people feel symptoms, but brush them off. Months later, they go to the doctor and are diagnosed with colon cancer.

“I often wonder, and you never know, but what would have happened if they'd come to me early on?" Dr. Karne said.

He said symptoms include changes in bowel habits, pain, cramps and unexplained weight loss.

"If your body's telling you something, don’t ignore it. don’t minimize it. Don't panic, but seek an opinion," Dr. Karne said.

It's important to note despite this new change in data, the majority of colon cancers still occur in people over the age of 50.

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