The American Cancer Society estimates there will be an additional 2,170 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed in Minnesota this year among people mostly 50 years old and older. Approximately 760 will die from the disease. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month.
Hardest hit will continue to be communities of color, including African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and American Indians.
It is the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer among men and women combined. However, it is also one of the most preventable cancers, and can often be successfully treated if diagnosed early. The five-year survival rate is around 90 percent for colorectal cancers caught in their earliest stage.
However, many list one or more of the following as the reasons why they hesitate being screened:
Concerns about affordability,
The so-called embarrassing nature of a colonoscopy
Some believe if it doesn’t run in the family they can’t have an issue
Some feel if they don’t have any symptoms, they must be safe.
“Those are barriers that that keep people who should be screened from being screened,” said Matt Flory, health systems manager for the American Cancer Society. “All of these issues can be addressed.”
“There are different types of screening tests available, Flory added. “The fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and fecal immunochemical test (FIT), for example, both test for signs of cancer in your stool. They are less invasive than colonoscopy and easier to have done. People should talk to their doctor and health providers on all of their concerns about colon cancer screening. Ultimately, the best test is the one you get”.
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