One-third of U.S. not getting colon screen

April 14, 2012 at 2:18 AM
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ATLANTA, April 14 (UPI) -- The No. 2 U.S. cancer killer -- colon cancer -- is often preventable and highly curable if caught early, U.S. researchers said.

"It's important for people to understand that, with proper screening, colon cancer can not only be detected early, but often can be prevented from developing," Dr. Felice Schnoll-Sussman, a gastroenterologist and acting director of The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said in a statement.

However, despite the availability of effective screening tests, about one-third of U.S. adults are not getting screened for colorectal cancer, said Dr. Benjamin Lebwohl, a gastroenterologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

Schnoll-Sussman and Lebwohl recommend:

-- Since screening can detect early cancers, and polyps before they become cancer, men and women at should begin screening at age 50. Colon polyps and early cancers often cause no symptoms.

-- Certain risk factors may require screening to be performed at a younger age. These include inflammatory bowel disease, a personal or family history of colon cancer, colon polyps, or certain hereditary conditions such as Lynch Syndrome or Familial Adenomatous Polyposis.

-- To quit smoking, avoid excess intake of red and processed meats, maintain a healthy body weight and exercise. Smokers also have an increased risk of developing colon cancer.

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