Colorectal cancer claimed over 52,000 lives in 2008, making it
the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States.
When Americans are screened according to the American Cancer Society
guidelines and diagnosed early, they have a 90 percent survival
rate. Sadly, the truth is that fewer than 40 percent of patients
are appropriately screened.
I find it tragic that so many people die from a disease that is
so highly preventable. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness
Month, an opportunity for everyone to become educated about colorectal
cancer and encourage people to reduce their risk of the disease
through a healthy lifestyle and regular screenings.
Regular screenings should start at age 50, or younger for people
at higher risk, and can help prevent the disease by detecting precancerous
polyps, as well as detecting any cancer in the earliest, most curable
stages. Talk to your doctor about the screening guidelines that
are right for you.
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to break
down the barriers of embarrassment and ignorance and prevent thousands
of unnecessary deaths. Talk with your doctor about screening today
- it could save your life.
Jeffrey Cryan, MD
Chairman of Gastroenterology, Community Medical
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