An international study has revealed an increasing number of young New Zealanders are getting bowel cancer - and it's part of a "worrying worldwide trend".

Cancer Society of New Zealand medical director and oncologist Chris Jackson, a co-author of the research, said this was a "real issue" that needed urgent attention.

"It shows we are likely to see an increase in the number of people likely to have bowel cancer in the future and that's a major concern," Jackson told the Herald.

He said there was a lot unknown about the reasons for the increase and more research was needed

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