ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – New research shows more people under age 55 are dying of colorectal cancer after decades of declining death rates.

A steady increase among whites age 20 to 54 from 2004 to 2014.

“That’s obviously the question of the day, and we don’t know what he answer is. Certainly people haven’t changed that much. We’re all concerned about, are we eating differently, is there something that we’re eating that might be doing this, is it something in the environment, but the honest answer is that we don’t know,” says SLU Care’s Dr. Charlene Prather, a gastroenterologist at SSM Health SLU Hospital.

What we do know, Prather says, is that smoking is a big contibutor to colo-rectal cancer, so her advice is to not smoke, eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, get screened at the appropriate time and ask your doctor about any possible symptoms you may have.

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