A new study shows over the last decade, the number of colon cancer cases in people under age 50 rose by more than 11 percent.
The findings were presented last week at Digestive Disease Week, the largest international gathering of medical experts in digestive health.
It shows the rate of colorectal cancer continues to increase in individuals under 50 years old, however the overall rate of the disease has been declining in recent years.
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Researchers examined more than one million colorectal cancer patient records over 10 years and suggest health-care providers be more vigilant about detecting symptoms in younger patients.
Another study recently linked the western lifestyle to an increase in colon cancer rates.
Possible reasons could be the obesity epidemic, a lack in physical activity and high-fat diets.
Kim Duncan, a high school principal, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011, shortly after her 50th birthday.
The diagnosis prompted a lifestyle change which included a holistic approach to wellness.
"I really changed everything. I changed how I ate. I did the research. I ate foods that were high in antioxidants, and those were foods like sweet potatoes, blackberries, black beans and kale," said Duncan.
Dr. Paul Hackett with Methodist Charlton Medical Center created a treatment plan which included surgery and chemotherapy.
She also used acupuncture and credits her faith for her recovery.
"I'm a Christian and I would read scripture. To me, it's positive and scripture for me was healing," said Duncan.