Help the American Cancer Society finish the fight during Colon Cancer Awareness Month

  • Friday, March 15, 2013

March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. As the American Cancer Society celebrates its 100th birthday this year, it is emphasizing the importance of age- appropriate colorectal cancer screening. More than 142,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are expected in the United States in 2013. Nearly 51,000 colon cancer deaths are expected in 2013.

“Colorectal cancer is highly treatable if found in its early stages, and half of all colon cancer deaths in the United States could be prevented if everyone followed recommended screening guidelines,” says Amy Ethridge, area executive director Charleston American Cancer Society. “Most people should start getting screened for colorectal cancer at age 50, but people with a family history are at higher risk and may need to be screened earlier.”

Colon cancer death rates have dropped by more than 30 percent during the past two decades thanks in part to the progress made by the American Cancer Society. We are working with community partners to provide education and access to colon cancer screening in communities that are hardest hit by the disease. Society- funded research has led to improved understanding regarding the link between diet and colorectal cancer, and the development of drugs to treat colorectal cancer. In addition, the society and its advocacy affiliate, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), are working to ensure that all Americans who need colorectal cancer testing and treatment have access to them.

The society recommend the following tests to find colorectal cancer early:

Tests that detect precancerous polyps and cancer: Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years or colonoscopy every 10 years or double contast barium enema (DCBE) every five years or CT colonography (CTC) every five years.

Tests that primarily detect cancer: Annual guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) with high test sensitivity for cancer (older versions of the Fecal Occult Blood test should not be used to screen for colon cancer) or annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT) with high test sensitivity for cancer (Older versions of the Fecal Occult Blood Test should not be used to screen for colorectal cancer) or stool DNA test (sDNA), with high sensitivity for cancer.

The society is also recommending preventative measures individuals can take to reduce their risk of developing the disease. Adults should maintain a healthy weight, get plenty of physical activity, and eat a diet that is high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and low in red and processed meats. In addition, limiting alcohol intake can also help reduce your risk of this disease.

For information about colon cancer screening and nutrition and physical activity recommendations visit www.cancer.org/coloncancer.

About the American Cancer Society

For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call the American Cancer Society anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

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