Young, white people dying from colorectal cancer: Study

ABC News' Dr. Jennifer Ashton reports on increasing death rates from colorectal cancer and a new Consumer Reports analysis of the impact sugary drinks have on the body.
3:11 | 08/09/17

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Transcript for Young, white people dying from colorectal cancer: Study
that's all I got. We'll turn now to a "Gma" health alert. Two big headlines this morning. One about an alarming rise in colon cancer among young adults and the other an alert about the dangers of sugar and so our senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton is going to weigh in on both. So let's start with this about colon cancer. Big study in "The journal of the American medical association" found that the news is not good for colon cancer rectal cancer, the rates are up in young people under the age of 50 and the death rates are up in that age group and there are racial differences as well. There's a higher death rate among whites. Good news, declining death rates among African-Americans, not clear why. What do you think is going on here? Well, I mean I think when you look at it, there's -- there are a lot of theories. Is it diet, is it obesity, is it the environment or genetics. It's unclear. The important things to know, focus on symptom, screening and research. Symptom, people need to understand the big symptoms, bleeding, pain, change no your bowl habits. In terms of screening, 50 and over to get screened and if you have a family history and research, I just got off the phone with a doctor from memorial sloan-kettering. The group there aggressively working on why this is happening. We don't know if it's dietary but working on causes and treatments. You bring up dietary. Diet and that's why we'll talk about this next headline. You're saying if we just cut out one soda a day. Well, here's the thing we know a third of the American population is obese. We are the heaviest nation in the world and a lot of it comes from our beverages so if you're drinking one 20-ounce soda a day, that is the equivalent, robin, help me with the big reveal here. I don't want to -- no way. In a year. This is what it adds up to, 119 cups of sugar in a year. That is the equivalent of 52 pounds. This is a big problem. So what does all this sugar do to our bodies? Nothing good. The good news is our cells do need glucose and sugar to run on but too much of it, inflammati inflammation, something called ox dative stress and affects the blood vessels, every organ system from the brain to the heart to the kidneys, big problems. There's some alternatives here. So this is a swap kind of system and people do become addicted literally to sugary beverages so you can't always go cold Turkey. If you make these swap, substitute one soda a day for 16 ounces of coffee, save 9 1/2 pounds a year. If you substitute a sports drink you can save about 6 pounds and then, you know, the best just straight water, you can save 14 pounds in a year so we're battling the bulge. This is important. Don't drink your calories unless you're talking about the alcoholic beverage that T.J. Was talking about. Come on, Jen. Look at this young audience. We're not encouraging that at all. No, exactly. You're right. We don't realize how many calories we drink. You want to eat your calories. Kids need milk. They need to drink them once in a mile. Alcohol in moderation, otherwise this is where the money is. Water, water, water everywhere. Thank you. George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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