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ASGE Lauds Drop in Colorectal Cancer Deaths
Date:12/10/2009

wareness of colorectal cancer symptoms, which prompts people to see their doctor, and the increasing prevalence of obesity and poor diet and lifestyle habits. Modifiable risk factors for colorectal cancer include physical inactivity, obesity, a diet high in red and processed meats, and tobacco use.

"This report is a testament to the effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening. Everyone should get screened for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50," said Jacques Van Dam, MD, PhD, FASGE, president, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. "African-Americans, and people with certain risk factors, including a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, may need to start screening at an earlier age. While these statistics are very encouraging, too few people are being screened for this largely preventable disease. Patients should talk to their doctor about an appropriate screening schedule."

ASGE recommends colonoscopy screening beginning at age 50 and repeating every 10 years after a normal exam. Some studies have shown that African-Americans are more frequently diagnosed with colorectal cancer at a younger age, leading some experts to suggest that African-Americans should begin screening at age 45. Colonoscopy plays a very important role in colorectal cancer screening and prevention because it is the only method that allows for the detection and removal of precancerous polyps during the same exam and before the polyps turn into cancer. Other screening methods, such as CT colonography or fecal occult blood tests, are less invasive and may also indicate the presence of precancerous and cancerous polyps, but they do not allow the removal of these polyps at the time of the exam. Patients with polyps found during these exams would then need to be referred for a colonoscopy.

Colorectal cancer kills nearly 50,000 people each year. Many of those deaths could be prevented with earlier detection. The five-year relative survival rate f
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SOURCE American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
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