(WETM) – March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. And research from Cleveland Clinic shows young onset colorectal cancer deaths seem to be more prevalent in certain parts of the country.

“The overarching result that we found was that geographic patterns among the youngest colorectal cancer patients differs substantially from even slightly older young onset colorectal cancer patients from the 35 to 49 year age category,” explained Blake Buchalter, PhD, researcher for Cleveland Clinic and lead author. “Among the youngest patients, we found notable hot spots in the Midwest and also the Great Lakes region.”

Buchalter said this kind of research has never really been done before in terms of tracking geographic patterns of young onset colorectal cancer deaths.

In addition to finding hot spots for mortality, the team also found three significant cold spots, which include the southwest, California and mountain west.  

Currently, it’s unclear why young onset colorectal cancer deaths seem to be more common in certain regions. However, that’s something Buchalter said they plan to further investigate in the future.

“Basically this study was trying to tease out what the actual geographic regions of disparity look like for young onset colorectal cancer mortality and then we’re trying to figure out what’s causing that going forward,” he said.

According to the CDC, colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men and women in the United States. 

Screenings for colorectal cancer should start at 45 years old.

Those who are at an increased risk may need to be screened sooner but should consult with their doctor first.