Study: Colon Cancer Increasing in Gen Xers & Millennials

BATIMORE (WJZ)– New research from the american cancer society finds a dramatic spike in colorectoral cases among gen-Xers and millennials.

George Solis reports on the troubling trend.

The information shows that these age groups are more at risk then people 50 and older. For some these findings present a whole new opportunity in helping save lives.

“Their hopes are almost completely dashed”says David Cohan.

For Cohan, the subject is a painful reminder of a life gone too soon.

Cohan opened up to WJZ about his daughter Susan, who at just 40 years old was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.

She would spend the next 2 years fighting for her life.

Eventually she succumbed to the cancer, but not before inspiring a foundation named in her honor to help promote and create awareness for colorectal cancer right here in Maryland.

Especially for people under the age of 50.

“The perception is, even today it’s older people, but it’s not older people anymore,” says Cohan.

New research by the American Cancer Society finding that claim to be true.

Those most at risk? Generation Xers and millennials.

The data shows that colon cancer rates among them since the mid 1980’s has increased 1 to 2.4 percent a year, but declined for those over 55.

Experts suggest it’s likely because colonoscopies, in that age group, catch benign polyps early before they can turn deadly.

One cancer survivor tells WJZ she’s hopeful this new information will help save more lives.

“Nobody thought that it could be colon cancer,” says Eden Stotsky-Himelfarb, now an oncology nurse and American Cancer Society volunteer.

She tells WJZ she was misdiagnosed for 8 years before she was diagnosed at age 26.

“It’s one of those cancers that is preventable. When do you ever hear cancer and preventable in the same sentence? Colon cancer is preventable,” she says.

As research may now indicate, it’s no longer a subject to shy away from.

“It needs to be talked about,” says Cohan.

Current guidlines call for screening at 50, but experts given this new info that may need to change. As far as what causing this increase, doctors say it’s unclear, but suggest lifestyle and diets could play a role.

March is Coloreactal Cancer Awareness Month.

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