In preventing colorectal cancer, lifestyle changes may not be enough. Regular screenings are vital, too. They can help find the cancer early, before symptoms develop, when it’s easier to treat. Experts recommend everyone age 50 or older be screened for the disease. Unfortunately, too few people follow this advice. Here’s why it’s worth your time and effort to be screened:
1. In 2014, Colorectal cancer is estimated to be the cause of more than 50,000 deaths in the U.S.
2. Colorectal cancer will result in approximately 1 death every 10 minutes – it is one of the top 3 cancer killers in the U.S.
3. 1 of every 20 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime—72,000 men and 65,000 women were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the U.S. in 2014
4. Colon cancer is more common in men and women over age 50
5. A screening colonoscopy can find pre-cancerous polyps in the colon which can be easily removed—if not detected and removed, these polyps could turn into cancer
6. A screening colonoscopy can find cancer early when it is easily cured
7. You are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer if you have a personal history of polyps, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or a family history of colon cancer or polyps
8. You are at a higher risk if someone in your family has had colorectal cancer or polyps or another type of cancer (breast, ovarian, or uterine)
9. Only HALF of all individuals who should be screened for colorectal cancer get the test
10. A screening colonoscopy can save your life!
Talk to your primary care doctor to see if it’s time for you to have a colonoscopy. At Valley Medical Center, you can get in for a colonoscopy quickly (usually within 10 days), no office visit is required and no additional co-pay is necessary when you meet medical criteria. For more information, visit valleymed.org/colonoscopy.