Throughout the month of March, the American Cancer Society is encouraging all men and women ages 50 and older to begin getting regular screenings for colon cancer. Colon cancer is one of the only forms of cancer that can be prevented with regular screenings. Doctors can check for any abnormalities and remove them before they progress into cancer.
Although the deaths and cases of colon cancer have significantly decreased in the last few decades because of testing and screening, over half of the population age 50 and older still have not been tested.
Dr. Stephen Parnell from the American Cancer Society stated, “we have an opportunity to significantly reduce death rates from colon cancer through regular screening. However, there may be barriers to screening, such as lack of health insurance. We hope that people will use this month, National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, as an opportunity to make screening a priority and talk to their doctors, family members, and friends about getting tested. By doing so, they are taking a key step toward staying well.”
In the African American community colon cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in men and women. It is expected that in 2010, over 16,000 African Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer. Many of these cases are expected to be treatable, but there is still a need for greater awareness of the benefits of screening and early detection, as well as the negative effects of poor diet, lack of physical activity and tobacco use which, over a long term, increases colon cancer risk by 30 to 50 percent..
People who are overweight or obese have higher risk of contracting colon cancer, as well as those who eat a lot of red meat. The American Cancer Society also suggests that people engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday because it increases your chances of maintaining a healthy colon.