SALT LAKE CITY – A national awareness campaign under way in March is urging people in Utah and elsewhere to be screened for what can be one of the deadliest forms of cancer.
“Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” is important, said Shane Ferraro, media relations manager at the American Cancer Society of Utah, because early detection and treatment can greatly increase the chances of surviving these types of cancer.
“Colorectal cancer is only a handful of cancers which screening has proven to save lives,” he said, “both by finding and removing polyps before they turn cancerous, and by finding cancers early when treatment is most likely to be successful.”
An estimated 250 Utahns will die from colorectal cancer this year, Ferraro said. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Americans.
Screening should start at age 50, Ferraro said, adding that having a colonoscopy every 10 years is the “gold standard” of screening methods. A less invasive procedure called the Fecal Immunochemical Test, or “FIT” test, can be done at home, he said.
“There are a number of other tests that you can get that are a little bit less invasive, such as the FIT test,” he said. “So, what we recommend is the best test that you get is the one that you actually get.”
Health professionals say it’s also important to be screened if there is a family history of the disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 50,000 Americans will die from colorectal cancer this year.
CDC information about colorectal cancer is online at <a href=”http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/ColorectalAwareness/” target=”parent”>cdc.gov</a>.