BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — According to a recent study, younger people are being diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer nationwide.

A study done at the University of Colorado-Boulder found that patients 20-29 years old had a 133% increase of colon cancer cases in which it has already started to spread.

Dr. Omar Khokhar, a gastroenterologist, at OSF St Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington said he and colleagues have seen this trend in their patients.

Recently, the recommended age to begin colon cancer screenings was lowered from 50 to age 45 and Khokhar said this increase validates that change. He said a variety of factors can increase someone’s chances of contracting colon cancer, but said there’s not a proven direct correlation.

“There are a number of risk factors that are postulated, we think it’s diet-related, activity-related are a couple of things this generation has different habits than the generation before it,” Khokhar said. “It used to be you’d get home and play outside for two hours and that’s just not the case anymore for a number of different reasons, so I think those habits that are developed early on or not developed earlier on leads to sedentary lifestyle.”

Khokhar said some symptoms to look out for are bloody stool, stomach cramps, and using the bathroom more frequently than normal.

He said if someone has one of these symptoms, it does not mean they have cancer, but it’s best to see a doctor to be sure.

If someone is turning 45, he said plan on scheduling that colonoscopy on time as it’s best to catch cancer and treat it sooner rather than later.