Lauren Nudo was just 31 years old when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. The Maple Valley resident is now trying to spread the word about the growing number of millennials like her being diagnosed with the disease.
Nudo thinks her cancer could have been caught earlier, but a doctor thought her hemorrhoids were related to being a new mom. It wasn't until the disease had spread to several organs that a doctor diagnosed her with Stage 4 colon cancer.
While Americans over 50 still make up the majority of colon cancer cases, the number of millennials being diagnosed is increasing at a faster rate. People born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to someone born in 1950. Researchers don't know why the numbers are trending upwards.
Lauren says it's important to speak up and act if you think something is wrong.
"Blood in your stool isn't normal. We need to advocate for ourselves as patients, " she said.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center offers five ways you can reduce your risk of colon cancer:
1. Move your body
Physical activity helps you cut your risk for colon cancer by as much as 20 percent
2. Eat more grains
Oatmeal, popcorn, corn, wild rice, buckwheat and quinoa are all whole grains.
3. Back away from the bacon
Not only bacon but any other red or processed meat
4. Pig out on plants
Vegetables should be half of our plate Starch a quarter and meat the rest
5. Limit alcohol intake
Researchers say alcohol is a convincing cause of colorectal cancer, especially if you have more than two drinks a day.