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If you’re 50 or older, get screened for colon cancer

Image-1-1March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

In the United States, colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death among men and women. Many colon cancers can be prevented with regular testing. So, during March, learn the facts about colon cancer and get tested. It could save your life.

The American Cancer Society recommends – if you’re 50 or older – you talk with your doctor about colon cancer screening. Only about 60 percent of adults who should be screened are up-to-date on their colon cancer screening, and many haven't been screened.

Screening can find colon cancer early, before symptoms develop, when it’s easier to treat and survival rates are more favorable, the society said. Some of the tests can help doctors find small growths, called polyps, which can be removed before they develop into cancer.

Fewer people are dying from colon cancer due partly to improvements in screening. However, more than 50,000 deaths from colon cancer are expected this year, making up 9 percent of cancer deaths.

The society’s goal: Increase colon cancer screening rates

Half of colon cancer deaths could be prevented, if people get tested regularly. The society, along with other organizations, is working to increase colon cancer screening rates to 80 percent by 2018. More than 7,000 lives a year could be saved.

“We have screening technologies that work and the capacity to apply these technologies,” Richard Wender, M.D., the society’s chief cancer control officer, said. “Our efforts can empower communities, patients, providers, community health centers, and health systems to develop the partnerships needed to deliver coordinated, quality colorectal cancer screening and follow up care.”

For more information about colon cancer, call the society at 800-227-2345 or visit


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Tom Sightings

I'm a walking advertisement for colorectal screening. I had my first colonoscopy at age 51. They found an "aggressive" polyp and took it out. If they hadn't, I'd probably be dead by now.

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