Colon cancer is 90 percent preventable. Yet Americans are dying at alarming rates from undetected or late-stage colon cancer because not enough people are getting screened. Colon cancer is the nation’s second deadliest form of cancer, with nearly 50,000 U.S. deaths in 2009. The risk of a person having colorectal cancer in their lifetime is about 1 in 19.
Colon cancer indiscriminately affects people regardless of race, sex, economic status or family history. There are often no symptoms and almost 75 percent of cases have no prior family history. If you think that you are cancer-free because no one in your family has had it, or because you have no symptoms, you are putting your life at risk.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men, behind lung and prostate cancers, yet it’s the second leading cancer cause of death in men. Just as men should consult their doctor about heart health, they should make colonoscopies part of their health check-ups as recommended.
Colon cancer takes the lives of nearly as many women as ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers combined. Women should make colonoscopies as much a part of their health care as a PAP test or mammogram to reduce their risk of colon cancer. This may mean every 3 to 10 years depending on medical history.