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Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer: Who, Me?
Date:7/1/2011

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- It may sound simple: Colorectal cancer is generally considered one of the most preventable types of cancer that people can develop. So get screened and prevent it.

But the devil is in the details. Cancer experts have found much confusion regarding the guidelines for when and how people should be screened for colon cancer.

A precise colorectal cancer screening can locate pre-cancerous polyps within the colon. Polyps can be removed and, once gone, their potential to cause colon cancer is gone, too.

However, a study released last fall by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only one in five doctors in the United States follow all recommended colon cancer screening guidelines. Most correctly recommend that screening begin at age 50, but they're inconsistent in describing the screening options and how often they should be utilized, the CDC reported.

"We have made some progress getting physicians on board with screening, but now we need to make sure they know which tests work, which tests don't work, and that there can be too-frequent testing," said Dr. Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancers for the American Cancer Society.

The result has been a lot of head-scratching among patients, cancer experts say.

"I work a lot with the public, and there's definitely unfamiliarity with what age to begin getting screened, and which screening tool to use," said Suzette Smith, the Prevent Cancer Foundation's director of partnerships for colorectal cancer screening.

About 142,570 new cases of colorectal cancer were reported in 2010, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and about 51,370 people died from the disease.

Most of those deaths could have been prevented through screening, the CDC maintains, but nearly half of all colorectal cancers are not detected until they've reac
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