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Gundersen doc weighs in on increasing colon cancer cases in young adults



Numbers decline for those over 55 but only 40% are screened nationally.

A new report from the American Cancer Society shows an increase in colon and rectal cancer cases in young adults. 

That includes the finding that a person born in 1990 would have twice the risk of colon cancer as someone born in 1950. 

La Crosse Gundersen Health System physician Trey Folkers says it’s concerning to a degree.

“It’s still pretty rare to have people in their 20s, 30s and even 40s diagnosed with colon and rectal cancer but those incidence are definitely on the rise,” he said.

Speculation for that is a worsening diet but Folkers says it’s more about early detection.

“The incidence of colorectal cancer in folks over the age of 55 has been declining rapidly since the 80s and that’s really since the advent of screening,” Folkers said. “We’re still only screening nationally about 40 percent of people who should be screened.”

Folkers says a sign you absolutely should see your doctor is presence of blood in the stool. He adds the most comprehensive test is still a colonoscopy. 

Folkers also recommends a healthier diet, saying what’s bad for your heart is also bad for your colon.

February is colon cancer awareness month.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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