Colon cancer in millennials? Two Cleveland area women warning others about rare diagnosis

A 25-year-old woman received devastating news of a diagnosis that's extremely rare in young people. Deanna Pisano had just returned from her honeymoon when she received the diagnosis.

"When you first get diagnosed everyone thinks, 'I'm going to die. There is no way that I am going to make this," said Pisano, of Cleveland.

Pisano was 25 when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. After surgery she is doing much better, but she faces more treatment to become cancer free. Colon cancer is extremely rare in young people.

Dr. John Letterio is a Pediatric Oncologist for University Hospitals. He said the majority of colon cancer cases are found in people over 50. Family history can put you at risk and so can obesity.

"A healthy lifestyle meaning physical activity - exercising as much as possible. Diet is a big thing with respect to colon cancer. We always recommend lowering the amount of red meat you intake - particularly processed meats," said Letterio.

Pisano said she has no family history of colon cancer and neither does her friend Darcy Egan, of Lakewood, who was also 25, when she was diagnosed with colon cancer in the last year.

Both said they have been active and healthy before their diagnosis.

"This came out of nowhere," said Egan.

Dr. Letterio said when it comes to colon cancer - at any age - look out for changes in bowel movements.

"If you are experiencing more often loose stools or diarrhea or if you see blood in your stools - not just occasional blood in the stools but blood in your stools that doesn't go away," added Letterio.

Pisano and Egan hope together they can raise awareness about colon cancer - especially in millennials like them.

"The best advice is to really find a doctor, and go get a physical. A lot of my friends didn't go to the doctors. They brushed it off - they were at college. They were busy with a job, or they were between insurance, and they just didn't take that step to go talk to someone. So, that was a big problem," added Egan.

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