July 01, 2016

Colorectal cancer screening

Not to be neglected

Colorectal cancer screening

Medical advances seem to come at a breakneck pace. Given that, you may wonder why a cure for cancer — one of the most common and deadly diseases — hasn't been developed.

It's true that some forms of cancer are difficult to treat. However, there are other forms of cancer that are routinely cured or can be well-controlled. In addition, some cancers can be prevented or stopped when caught at a very early stage.

Colorectal cancer is one such disease. Lifestyle changes and appropriate screening can decrease the incidence of colorectal cancer by 80 to 90 percent. Studies suggest that the primary preventive screening test — colonoscopy — reduces deaths from colorectal cancer by 60 to 70 percent. That's a major potential blow to a disease that's diagnosed in about 135,000 Americans each year and causes about 52,000 deaths each year.

Screening for colorectal cancer — including by colonoscopy — is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer. The good news is that the number of adults who are current on recommended screening tests is on the rise and the incidence of colon cancer and deaths due to colon cancer have been in decline.

Still, about a third of American adults aren't up to date on screening tests. And many more have lifestyle habits that may be contributing to increased colon cancer risk. By taking some fairly basic steps, you can greatly decrease your chances of developing a cancer that's the top cause of cancer death for...