2007-03-14 / Health

Colorectal Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life

ATLANTA (GA) - Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the United States and in Georgia. The good news is most of these deaths can be prevented using available screening tests and treatments. If you're 50 or older, you need to get checked for colorectal cancer yearly.

"Colorectal cancer claims the lives of more than 1,300 Georgians each year. However, the survival rate from this type of cancer is 90% or more when it is detected early," said Stuart Brown, M.D., director for the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR), Division of Public Health. "About 75% of new colorectal cancer cases occur in patients with no known risk factors, making routine screening extremely important."

At least one-third of colorectal cancer deaths could be avoided if Georgians followed colorectal screening guidelines, according to the American Cancer Society

(ACS). Most colorectal cancers (ACS). Most colorectal cancers

develop from polyps. Polmoval develop from polyps. Polyps

are noncancerous growths that can change over time into cancer. Screenings can lead to removal

of polyps and actually of polyps and actually

prevent cancer.

"It is unfortunate that many

"It is unfortunate that many

adults over the age of 50 avoid adults over the age of 50 avoid

colorectal cancer screening because colorectal cancer screening because

of fear or anxiety. Georgians of fear or anxiety. Georgians

need to know the importance of need to know the importance of

colorectal screening to protect themselves colorectal screening to protect themselves

and their loved ones from and their loved ones from

colorectal cancer," Brown said. colorectal cancer," Brown said.

The exact causes of colorectal cancer The exact causes of colorectal cancer

are unknown. However, studies indicate certain factors are associated with an increased risk for the disease. Age is the primary risk factor for colorectal cancer. A risk factor for colorectal cancer. A family history of colorectal cancer family history of colorectal cancer and/or polyps, or a personal history and/or polyps, or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease may of inflammatory bowel disease may increase cancer risk. Studies also increase cancer risk. Studies also suggest that tobacco users are 30 to suggest that tobacco users are 30 to 40% more likely than non-smokers to 40% more likely than non-smokers to die from colorectal cancer. die from colorectal cancer.

The American Cancer Society recomety The American Cancer Society recommends that beginning at age 50, men and women who are at average risk for developing colorectal cancer undergo annual screenings. Several options for colorectal screening are available. Your healthcare provider can recommend the right type test and how often you should be screened for colorectal cancer based on your age, family history, and other possible risk factors.

Health officials say there are steps people can take to maintain colorectal health and reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer, including getting regular colorectal screening tests; eating a low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains; drinking alcohol only in moderation; quitting tobacco; and engaging in at least moderate physical activity for 30 minutes or longer on five or more days of the week.

In collaboration with the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the Georgia Department of Human Resources continues to educate Georgians about the prevenpart Georgians about the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases as well as the importance of early detection of cancer.

Getting Checked is a of the Live Healthy part of the Live Healthy Georgia campaign that also Georgia campaign that also encourages Georgians to Eat encourages Georgians to Eat Healthy, Be Active, Be Smoke Healthy, Be Active, Be Smoke Free and Be Positive. For more Free and Be Positive. For more information about the Live Healthy information about the Live Healthy Georgia Campaign, visit www. Georgia Campaign, visit www. livehealthygeorgia.org. To learn livehealthygeorgia.org. To learn more about colorectal cancer, call more about colorectal cancer, call 1-800-4CANCER (1-800-422-6237) 1-800-4CANCER (1-800-422-6237) or visit www.georgiacancer.org. or visit www.georgiacancer.org.

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