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March is for Colorectal Cancer Awareness

By on March 5, 2015

While a combination of earlier detection and better treatments have resulted in a steady decline in the colorectal cancer death rate over the past two decades, colorectal cancer will kill an estimated 49,700 people in the U.S. according to the American Cancer Society.

Colorectal cancer is one of only a handful of cancers for which screening is proven to save lives, both by finding and removing polyps before they turn cancerous and by finding cancers early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.  During March, National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, the American Cancer Society is highlighting the need to do more to save lives from the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women by urging patients and their doctors to talk about the importance of colorectal cancer screening.

More than 1 in 3 adults aged 50 and older are not being screened as recommended for colorectal cancer.

The 80% by 2018 initiative, a shared goal to have 80 percent of adults aged 50 and older regularly screened for colorectal cancer by the year 2018, is led by the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, an organization co-founded by the Society and CDC. Nearly 200 local and national organizations have joined this initiative to eliminate colorectal cancer as a major public health problem.

From the time the first abnormal cells start to grow into polyps, it usually takes about 10 to 15 years for them to develop into colorectal cancer. Regular screening can, in many cases, prevent colorectal cancer altogether. This is because most polyps can be found and removed before they turn into cancer. Screening can also find colorectal cancer early, when it is highly curable.

Content provided by the American Cancer Society.