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December 2008 Mayo Clinic Health Letter Highlights: Colorectal Screenings, Lighting Tips for Low Vision and Generic Medications
Date:12/9/2008

ROCHESTER, Minn., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Here are highlights from the December issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Reprinting is allowed for a fee. Mayo Clinic Health Letter attribution is required. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Visitwww.HealthLetter.MayoClinic.com orcall toll-free for subscription information, 800-333-9037, extension 9771.

What's Stopping You? Colorectal Screenings Can Prevent Cancer

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, can be prevented before it starts. And when it's caught at the earliest stage, the treatment success rate is greater than 90 percent.

Both prevention and successful treatment require regular screenings -- a health check that many avoid. Fewer than four in 10 eligible people undergo regular colorectal screenings.

The December issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter describes how screenings can catch cancer before it spreads or even starts.

The large intestine, which consists of the colon and rectum, is a muscular tube at the end of the digestive system. The inside lining of these organs is usually smooth. As a person ages, precancerous clumps of cells, called polyps, may grow in the lining. Some are considered harmless, and others pose a risk. Adenomatous polyps have cells that typically look and act differently from normal cells and can become cancerous as they grow. The progression to cancer is more likely when a polyp's diameter exceeds 10 millimeters.

Polyps can grow anywhere in the colon. Of the many screening options available, colonoscopy is considered the tool of choice, because the entire
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