Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Colon Cancer: Preventable, Treatable, Beatable

(Salt Lake City) – In 2012, 70 percent of Utah adults who answered a survey said they had been screened for colon cancer, an important milestone for the highly-treatable disease.

“But that leaves 30 percent of adult Utahns who haven’t been screened and may have the beginnings of cancer right now,” said Brenda Nelson, Media Coordinator for the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Cancer Control Program (UCCP). “Our ongoing goal is to get every Utah adult screened early, so polyps can be found and removed before they become cancerous.”

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 UDOH and Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN) are encouraging all Utahns age 50 or over to get a colonoscopy.

“If caught early, 92 percent of colorectal cancers are treatable,” said Kelly Robinson, UCCP health educator. Robinson recommends all Utahns get health insurance coverage, and to stay physically active, which is shown to help prevent many diseases, including colon cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 780 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed in Utah this year. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicinefound that colon cancer screening is key to survival, because finding and removing precancerous polyps seems to cut the death rate of colorectal cancer in half.

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, UCAN chair  “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 annual “Buns Up” 5K Walk/Run hosted by the Mountain West Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (MWSGNA).

For more information on colon cancer, or for the Buns Up 5K, visit


The mission of the Utah Department of Health is to protect the public's health through preventing avoidable illness, injury, disability and premature death, assuring access to affordable, quality health care, and promoting healthy lifestyles.