LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – With Colon Cancer Awareness Month in full swing, Donna Terrell’s Yoga Warriors organization is making sure Arkansans are knowledgeable about the disease.

Yoga Warriors was created after the loss of Terrell’s daughter, who died from colon cancer at a young age. Still today, the number of young people getting the disease is growing.

According to the American Cancer Society, 20 percent of the diagnosis in 2019 were people under 50, with some as young as 18.

Dr. Patrick Szeto at CHI St. Vincent in Little Rock said he’s seeing some common denominators in young Arkansans.

“Smoking, I see as a big risk factor,” Dr. Szeto said. “I do see obesity in patients that are younger and sometimes I do see African Americans have a higher risk as well.”

Doctors still don’t know why younger people are getting the disease but suggest Arkansans get their first colonoscopy by age 45. They say if you’re already seeing symptoms though, get screened now.

They say if you are seeing changes in your bowel habits or if you have bleeding, even if you think it’s hemorrhoids and it doesn’t go away, get a colonoscopy.