New study suggests younger people at increasing risk of colon cancer

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DALLAS -- In case you hadn't heard, March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

"Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in America," said Dr. Jeff Hurley, a colorectal surgeon at Texas Health Dallas.

"It's actually our number one cancer killer. More people die of this cancer than any other type of cancer in the U.S.  The thing that's real important to remember about colorectal cancer is that it often doesn't have any symptoms until it's advanced."

Talk about silent but deadly. That's why once you hit a certain age, they start testing you for it, right?

Well, a new study says younger people - even millennials - might be more at risk than we thought.

"It's a disturbing trend," said Dr. Hurley. "Because in patients that are in their 20's, 30's, and 40's, we're seeing an increased incidence of the colon and rectal cancers, and those are patients that aren't normally screened."

Hey, getting screened for colon cancer might sound scary, but don't worry - you young folks probably can't get screened anyway.

Said Hurley: "The insurance is probably not going to cover a screening colonoscopy for most patients under the age of 50 without a family history."

Again, there aren't a lot of symptoms to watch for, so Dr. Hurley says it's important to watch for any sign things are off.

"I think the takeaway message here is that we should take those seriously," Hurley told NewsFix. "And the most common ones would be rectal bleeding, changing bowel habits, or abdominal pain. A lot of times patients are hesitant to mention that type of thing, those types of symptoms to their doctor, but it's important to do that."

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