Tuesday, March 10, 2015

If You Won’t Get a Colonoscopy for Yourself, Get One for Your Family

(Salt Lake City, UT) – There are countless things you do for the ones you love; make getting screened for colon cancer be one of them. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Utah for both men and women. But if caught early, 92 percent of those cancers are treatable, which means you’ll be around to keep taking care of your loved ones.

Doug Miller, television personality, outdoorsman, and family man, lost his life to colorectal cancer. “My dad was just 58 years old when he died,” says his daughter, Karen Miller Coleman. “He had never had a colonoscopy. Had he gotten one, he would still be here. So get a colonoscopy.” 

Karen is featured in the Utah Department of Health’s Utah Cancer Control Program (UDOH UCCP) campaign, which is aimed at saving lives by increasing colorectal cancer screening. Current TV ads are the third installment in an ongoing prevention effort where Karen encourages Utahns to get a colonoscopy, “If not for yourself, for your family.”

The campaign runs through March, which is Utah Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. The Cancer Control Program believes the campaign will motivate Utah men and women aged 50 and older to get the life-saving recommended screening.

Newly-released data from the Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System found that Utah men and women aged 65+ were much more likely to get screened than those aged 50-64. But screening really must begin at 50 for the best chance of survival.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following colon cancer screening tests for adults aged 50 and older:

• Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) done at home every year;
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy done every five years, with FOBT/FIT done every three years, or;
• Colonoscopy done every 10 years.

If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened at age 40, or 10 years before the youngest case in your immediate family, whichever is earlier. In other words, if your father was 48 when he was diagnosed, you should get screened at age 38. “If caught early, 92 percent of colorectal cancers are treatable,” said Kelly Robinson, UCCP health educator.

Recommended screening beginning at age 50 is the most effective way to prevent colon cancer.  If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your family.  For more information about colon cancer, visit cancerutah.org.

# # #

Media Contact:
Katie McMinn
Media Specialist