Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Colorectal Cancer: Early Detection Saves Lives

Doctors recommend everyone 50 years and older get screened for colorectal cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America. Screening is the best way to detect colorectal cancer in its earliest stage, when it is most effectively treated.

Due to family or personal history, some people are at greater risk of colorectal cancer and should be screened before they reach 50 years old. Stephanie Staggs, project director of TMA’s Physician Oncology Education Program, has a family history of colon cancer and takes no chances with her health and her life. Here is her story:

"In 1979, my paternal grandfather died of colon cancer at the age of 58. I was only 5 years old. In 2009, my maternal grandfather also died of colon cancer at the age of 83. My father has had two colonoscopies, and both times adenomatous polyps were removed.

"As a Hispanic female with a family history of colon cancer, I am at high risk. I have already taken the first step and had my first colonoscopy at 35. I urge you to talk to your doctor to see if you need to screen for colon cancer before the age of 50; doing so can save your life."

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