Resolve to Take Colon Cancer Test, Experts Say01/06/12
FRIDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- If you're 50 or older,
consider making it a new year goal to get screened for colorectal
cancer, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers because
most cases arise from precancerous growths in the colon called
polyps. These can be found during a screening exam and removed
before they turn into cancer.
Recent research has confirmed that screening is one reason why
colorectal cancer death rates are declining, according to an ASGE
Compared to 2002, about 66,000 cases of colorectal cancer were
prevented and 32,000 lives were saved in the United States between
2003 and 2007, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. Half of the prevented cases and deaths were the
result of screening.
However, one in three U.S. adults isn't screened for colorectal
cancer, which is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the
third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United
In many cases, colorectal cancer causes no symptoms until it is
too late to treat. Age is the most important risk factor for the
disease, so even older people with healthy lifestyles need to get
If you're 50 or older, talk to your doctor about colorectal
cancer screening and the method that is best for you, the ASGE
advises. Screening methods include colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy,
stool blood tests, stool DNA, CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy)
and barium enema.
Screening should begin at an earlier age for people with risk
factors such as a family history of polyps or colorectal cancer.
Some experts recommend that black Americans being screening at age
Colonoscopy is considered the preferred method because it is the
only test that both detects and removes precancerous polyps during
the same exam. A person at average risk with normal colonoscopy
results shouldn't require another exam for 10 years. Screenings may
be more frequent for patients found to have polyps or cancer.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
colorectal cancer screening.
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