Does cancer screening save lives? The new government study answers your question.
Colon cancer is the #2 cancer killer in America, but it doesn't have to be
A new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed some great news: new cases of colon cancer decreased by 66,000 from 2003 to 2007, and deaths dropped by nearly 32,000 during that time. Those are some pretty heavy numbers!
The author of the government study remarked that "a remarkable increase in the level of screening" over the past decade--almost two-thirds of Americans ages 50 to 75 were screened for colon cancer by 2010 compared with 52% in 2002--saved the lives of tens of thousands of Americans from colon cancer. Colon cancer screening is up, and the incidence of colon cancer and deaths caused by colon cancer are down significantly.
What is the strongest risk factor for colon cancer? Would it be a family history of colon cancer? How about a personal history of smoking, obesity or poor diet? Might it be polyps in the colon or rectal areas? No, guess again. The strongest risk factor for colon cancer "is not being told to be screened by your doctor", according to the author of the study. As pointed out by a leading gastroenterologist, "The vast majority [of colon cancer deaths] are totally preventable."
The bad news? The CDC reported that colon cancer screenings may be "leveling off". In 2010, 1 in 3 adults between the ages of 50 and 75 were not up-to-date with recommended colon cancer screening. There are still more than 22 million eligible adults (between the ages of 50 and 75) who are still not being screened.
There are many reasons: some doctors don't recommend screening; some patients are uninsured or only see their doctor when they are sick; and failing to follow recommended guidelines for periodic screening after one colonoscopy. Most of the persons who are not screened for colon cancer fall in the lower income population. Further deaths and new cases of colon cancer can be prevented through better insurance coverage and more diligence by patients.
Colon Cancer Screening Saves Lives!
If you think that colon cancer screening is inconvenient or a waste of your time, check out the statistics from the CDC's study. There were 32,000 fewer deaths from colon cancer in 2007 than there had been four years earlier in 2003 and there were 66,000 fewer new cases of colon cancer in 2007 than in 2003 (that's right, colon cancer can be stopped even before it begins). Even with the higher rates of screening, colon cancer still kills nearly 600,000 Americans every year.
This cancer can be stopped before it starts. Screening can find precancerous polyps (abnormal growths on the inner lining of the colon) so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening can also find colon cancer early when it is easiest to treat and highly curable. Screening is important because early stages of colon cancer may not present any symptoms.
According to the CDC, if everyone aged 50 or older were screened regularly, 60% of the deaths from this cancer could be avoided. If you do the math, 60% of 600,000 colon cancer victims is a pretty big number.
What you can do if you want more information about screening for colon cancer
If you want more information about screening for colon cancer, I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, from the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.