More Screenings = Fewer Deaths from Colorectal Cancer

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In their online publication Vital Signs, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Tuesday that 1 in 3 Americans are not being screened for colorectal cancer according to schedule.

But there’s good news, too: If more people do choose to get screened, the number 2 cancer killer will almost surely get bumped down from its ranking. The report stated that between 2003 and 2007 approximately 66,000 cases of colorectal cancer were prevented and there were 32,000 fewer deaths attributed to the disease. Half of the prevented cases and deaths were due to screening.

The most common reasons adults aren’t getting screened? First, they’re not sure at what age they should begin – the answer is age 50 for most adults, but talk to your primary care physician about what’s right for you. And second, many people report being afraid of the test/or afraid the test will be positive for cancer. While screenings are never fun, the CDC says that getting screened on time is key because many precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) can be removed before they turn into cancer. In addition, colorectal cancer found in the early stages is easiest to treat. And finally, there are multiple methods of screening, and some are not as invasive as colonoscopy. The CDC suggests getting a colonoscopy every 10 years. So, many times on the off years,  a stool test is used and colonoscopy is only done if that test comes back positive.


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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.