2009-03-07 / News

Screening can prevent colon cancer

NEWARK - The Licking County Health Department is working to increase awareness of colon, or colorectal, cancer. Colon cancer is sometimes called the "silent killer," since it often has no symptoms.

Health Commissioner, Joe Ebel, reports, "Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer—cancer of the colon or rectum—is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer also is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States." Ebel added, "The statistics are staggering, but the good news is that if everybody age 50 or older had regular screening tests, as many as 60% of deaths from this cancer could be avoided. So if you are 50 or older, start screening now."

According to the CDC, in most cases, colorectal cancer develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.

The greatest risk factor for colon cancer is age, and the screening recommendation is that men and women 50 years and over talk with their doctor and get a screening test. If you have a family history of colon cancer or pre-cancerous polyps, you may need to start screening at an earlier age.

The Licking County Health Department is joining the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and other is urging Licking County residents over 50 years old to talk to your health care provider and get a screening test for colon cancer.

For more information, please contact Nancy Hanger, Nursing Director with the Licking County Health Department at 740-349- 6535 or visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/ colorectal/.

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