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Study finds alarming increase in colon cancer among millennials

Posted at 5:20 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 11:34:56-04

An alarming finding affecting millennials - they are more at risk of getting colon cancer than ever before.

Dr. Drew Oliveira, Senior Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says Colon Cancer could take the lives of 53-thousand Americans this year.

But why are more people getting this potentially deadly disease? Oliveria says, "A recent study by the Regence BlueCross BlueShield Association has noted that certain risk factors of chronic diseases increase your likelihood of having colorectal cancer."

Oliveira says in Utah those risk factors include Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, diabetes and obesity. "Alarmingly, the same risk factors are increasing 35-100 percent in the millennial population, or younger individuals ages 22-38."

The study also found that the increase in colon cancer isn't just affecting Millennials. According to Oliveira, "Even for people age 50 and above where colorectal cancer is more likely, 60 percent are not getting screened."

Oliveria says screening is key to preventing colon cancer because no matter your age - "If you catch it early, you can treat it successfully."

Oliveria suggests talking to your doctor about early screenings and take a closer look at your lifestyle. We may hear it a lot, but medical experts cannot stress enough how important it is to make healthy choices and keep your weight in check, no matter your age. "Maintain a healthy body weight throughout your life. Diet, exercise, fruits, vegetables. All are important components being able to maintain that weight," says Oliveria.

That also means you may need to limit your drinking. "The American Cancer Society recommends no alcohol use. Alcohol has been associated with multiple different kinds of cancer development. If you must drink, for women, one drink per day. For men, two drinks per day at a maximum," says Oliveria.

And if you're prone to diabetes, it's time to go on a low carb, low sugar diet. And above all, "get screened early."

If you have health questions or story ideas, FOX 13 and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah would like to hear from you! Email us at healthiertogether@fox13now.com.