By Gennady Gelman, M.D., Family Medicine, Harrington Physician Services
Colorectal cancer (also called colon cancer) is the third most common cancer in the United States. In 2016 alone, 52,286 people died from colon cancer in America.
according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But this doesn’t have to be the case. When found in its earliest stages, the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is about 90%. Regular screening can even prevent colon cancer from developing in the first place, since the polyps that later turn into cancer can be found and removed.
Despite this, about one-third of people in the U.S. who fit the criteria for regular colon cancer screening have never been screened. Are you one of them? Don’t let fear of screening prevent you from taking advantage of a simple procedure that could save your life. Here’s what you need to know…
The United States Preventive Services Task Force advises all men and women between 50 and 75 years old to have a colorectal cancer screening. In some cases, people outside of this age range who have risk factors should be screened as well. Risk factors include:
You should discuss your need for screening with your primary care provider. Depending on your individual risk factors, there are a number of options for colon cancer screening tests. They include:
You should talk with your doctor about which type of screening test is best for you – but regardless of which you choose, the most important thing is to be sure you get screened.
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