March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.
And there are some new questions about the best time to start screening.
This is because we're seeing more cases of colorectal cancer in younger people in their 30s or 40s.
But screening, for most people, starts at age 50.
The jump in cases could be due to higher rates of obesity. Or some experts say an inherited condition could be playing a bigger role.
It's called Lynch Syndrome. It prevents the body from repairing damaged DNA.
And it dramatically raises the risk for colon cancer in young adults.
Fifty hospitals across Ohio have now banded together, to test colorectal cancer patients and their families, to see how many have Lynch Syndrome.
So far, doctors have found more than 200 cases among 3,000 people tested.
The volunteers also get genetic counseling, and earlier screenings.
"It's critically important to find out young, so that you can start those screenings at the right age, and do them at the right frequency, and we can prevent these individuals from getting cancer in the first place," said Heather Hampel, genetic counselor.
People with Lynch Syndrome also have a higher risk of ovarian, uterine and stomach cancer.
If the Ohio project succeeds, organizers hope to see it go nationwide.
Screening for Lynch Syndrome
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