Colonoscopy, a dreaded, but highly recommended procedure that helps detect and prevent colorectal cancer (CRC), is typically not something to worry about until your 50s. While the incidence of CRC has generally been declining in the U.S. and death rates have decreased, the disease has been increasing among people under age 50.

Researchers aren’t sure why this is happening, so they took a deeper look at the risk factors contributing to this phenomenon, specifically in rectal cancer. In a blog post on Everyday Health, Dr. Valentine Nfonsam, associate professor of surgery and the program director for the general surgery residency program at the University of Arizona, Tucson, shares some noteworthy correlations that he and his colleagues believe could be helpful in beginning to reverse this trend.

Dr. Nfonsam presented data from the study “Rectal cancer in the young; analysis of contributing factors,” abstract Tu1682, at Digestive Disease Week® on Tuesday, June 5 at 9:30 a.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.