New research suggests more young adults dying from colon cancer

Whites demonstrate 'concerning' increase in colon cancer mortality

"Year to year yes, there's been some increase in mortality in whites, but still overall, blacks are much more likely to die and to get colon cancer than whites", he said, "You tend to get them at an earlier age, and they tend to be more deadly, and more advanced when they are discovered".

"It probably isn't cancer for people who are young or middle aged, but it could be", Siegal said, "so if we can get earlier detection in younger age groups then we can reduce the mortality and try to turn this trend around even before we know what's causing the increased incidence".

Medical oncologist Dr. Shagufta Naqvi said a person's likelihood of developing the disease is more complicated than just their age.

Are women's brains more active than men's? "We looked at adults from ages 20 to 54 and following several decades of pretty rapid declines in death rates, over the past decade deaths in this age group have been increasing", lead investigator Rebecca Siegel, strategic director of surveillance information services at the American Cancer Society, told CBS News.

The increase was limited to whites, among whom mortality rates increased by 1.4 percent per year, from 3.6 in 2004 to 4.1 in 2014.

The overall rates for colorectal cancer have been going down for several decades with the exception of one group; young white patients.

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The study claims that reported cases have increased by 1.6 percent annually in adults younger than 50. For blacks, it went down to 6.1 per 100,000 in 2014.

Meanwhile, the American College of Gastroenterology advises that screening for colon cancer start at 45 among blacks, not 50. There were over 242,000 deaths due to this cancer in that time frame. Routine screening is generally not recommended for most adults under the age of 50.

Center officials are calling for people to take the results into consideration when receiving cancer treatment to gauge the characteristics of each hospital, while stressing they do not indicate which hospitals are the best.

While they remain possible factors, risks for colorectal cancer like obesity and sedentary lifestyles are not thought to be playing a hugely significant part, given that they exist across both demographics, which is baffling experts. These include obesity, which is increasing among all races and would suggest colorectal cancer rates should be going up among all races, too. In contrast, mortality declined over time for African-Americans, from 8.1 in 1970 to 6.1 in 2014.

The important thing for now is to catch the cancer early on.

Siegal explained that this type of cancer in people under 55 is still rare, but that screening and keeping an eye out for symptoms - including abdominal pain, blood in the stool, weight loss and changes in bowel patterns - is advisable.

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