March is National Colon Cancer Awareness month. There is good news and bad news about colon cancer. The bad? Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Our area has a higher instance of diagnosis and subsequent death from colon cancer. The good news? Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. As a matter of fact, a recent study suggests that 90 percent of colon cancer deaths can be prevented with periodic colonoscopies. That's right, nine out of 10 colon cancer deaths are preventable. And all it takes is regular examination.
Click here to see how Heartland states rank in colon cancer frequency
(from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Americans have about a one in six chance of developing colon cancer, with most cancers beginning as small, non cancerous clumps of cells called polyps. Over time, some polyps can become colon cancers. But regular screenings let your doctor identify polyps and remove them before they become cancerous. The test is pretty straight forward...a colonoscopy. Now, I know what you are thinking and let me tell you from experience, it is painless and it is NOT a big ordeal.
Too many people let the fear of a colonoscopy keep them from getting this crucial screening. Far too many die. Colonoscopies should begin for most people at age 50 and be repeated as recommended by your physician. Talk with your doctor to schedule a screening.
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