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Undy Run/Walk fights colon cancer this weekend

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - FOX2 /News 11 reporter Roche Madden survived colon cancer at age 55 and emceed Saturday’s Undy 5000 Run / Walk, after a University of Michigan study estimated 1 in 7 diagnosed with the disease were under the age of 50.

The team names were risqué:

“Papa Jack’s Pooper Scoopers”

“Fear the Rear”

“Storhlin’ for Joan’s Colon”

Those surviving the disease seemed to get younger than in years before.

“I was 46,” said Vicki Ganniger. Her cancer was at stage four.

Holly Zimmer was 35 years old when doctors found her stage-one polyp.

“We’ve seen people as young as 21 years of age,” said Dr. Steven Fern, a gastroenterologist.

He pointed out that symptoms can seem very harmless.

“I hate to tell you,” Ganniger laughed. “I thought I had hemorrhoids.”

Holly Zimmer had a more serious sign.

“It was rectal bleeding. I ignored it for close to three years.”

Teams with funny name covered the lower Muny Parking lot and ran to fight the disease, which the CDC blamed for more than 50,000 deaths in the United States in 2014. But, there also seemed to be a serious problem for young people having to get screened.

“It’s rather unfortunate that people come in for a screening, thinking that it`s going to be a hundred-percent covered,” said Dr. Fern. “And, it really is not if we do find a problem."

“These people are having to do the chemotherapy and the radiation, which is costing more than a colonoscopy,” Zimmer explained.

Dr. Fern still encouraged colonoscopies before 50, the age recommended by the CDC. For now, some parents are fighting insurance companies while fighting to see their children grow up. But, Dr. Fern sees hope.

“We are definitely getting some legislation that should eliminate that very, very soon.”

Perhaps in time for next year’s run.

Learn more about the study: http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201601/1-7-colorectal-cancer-patients-diagnosed-recommended