Salt Lake City – Colon cancer is the second-leading cancer killer of men and women in both the United States and Utah. In recognition of March as Colon Cancer Awareness Month, the Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN) and the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) are encouraging all Utahns 50 or over to get a colonoscopy.
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 780 new cases of colon cancer in Utah in 2012. Fortunately, screening tests can find precancerous polyps that can be removed before they turn into cancer.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that colon cancer screening is key because finding and removing precancerous polyps seems to cut the death rate of colorectal cancer in half.
“There are no early warning signs of colon cancer, which is why screening is so important,” said Sylinda Lee, media coordinator, UDOH. “If everyone 50 or over had regular screening tests, at least 60% of deaths from colon cancer could be prevented,” she added.
“The goal of UCAN is to educate Utahns about how to prevent cancer, encourage them to get screened, and ultimately prevent cancer deaths,” said Lynette Hansen, chair of UCAN. “Colon cancer screening should not just be important to men and women over 50, it should be important to anyone who loves or cares about someone over 50,” added Hansen. “Tell them you love them; tell them to get a colonoscopy.”
In an effort to raise awareness of colon cancer and the importance of getting screened, activities will take place throughout March, including the second annual “Buns Up” 5K Walk/Run hosted by Mountain West Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (MWSGNA).
For more information on colon cancer, or for the Buns Up 5K, visit http://www.ucan.cc/ or http://www.bunsup5k.org/.