State Wants Older Residents Screened For Colorectal Cancer

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

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Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) encourages adults 50 and older to get screened for colorectal cancer during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this March.

"ADHS encourages all adults age 50 and older in Arizona to discuss colorectal cancer screening options with their health-care providers," said Susan Gerard, state health department director.

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Last year, as part of its ongoing education outreach efforts, Payson Care Center presented a program on colon cancer screening with Dr. Luis Coppelli. The state is urging screening for everyone 50 and older.

"Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer, but it is preventable if adults take the initiative to get screened early, especially during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month."

ADHS shared some myths and facts about colon cancer:

Myth: Colorectal cancer only affects men.

Fact: Colorectal cancer affects men and women almost equally.

  • 73,997 men and 71,086 women were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2004;
  • 26,881 men and 26,699 women died from colorectal cancer in 2004.

Myth: Only a few Arizonans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year.

Fact: 2,400 Arizonans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year.

Myth: Colorectal cancer only affects certain ethnic groups.

Fact: Colorectal cancer occurs in all racial and ethnic groups.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer affecting men, after prostate and lung cancers. For women, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer after breast and lung cancers. Arizonans can learn more about preventing colorectal cancer through routine screenings and by visiting the Web site www.GetScreenedAZ.com.

It's as easy as 1, 2, 3 to get screened and ADHS hopes to significantly decrease incidences of colorectal cancer in Arizona by encouraging adults 50 and older to get regular screenings for this deadly, but preventable disease.

Adults can get screened easily by following these three steps: 1) call their doctor; 2) make the appointment; and 3) get screened. It may save their life.

Colorectal cancer has no symptoms or warning signs, which is why ADHS is urging Arizonans 50 and older to call their health-care provider, make an appointment and get screened during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.

Early detection and removal of polyps in the colon actually prevents development of many colorectal cancers. To learn more about regular screenings for colorectal cancer, visit the Web site at www.GetScreenedAZ.com or call your doctor.

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