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2011-03-10 digital edition

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2011-03-10 / General Stories

American Cancer Society Encourages Testing

This March, the American Cancer Society is encouraging all men and women age 50 and older to make getting tested for colorectal cancer a priority. Colorectal cancer (commonly referred to as colon cancer) is one of only two cancers that can actually be prevented through testing. Overall, colon cancer rates have declined rapidly in both men and women in the past two decades, due in part to early detection and removal of precancerous polyps. However, only half of the U.S. population aged 50 and older has been tested.

In Texas an estimated 7,583 cases of colorectal cancer were expected to occur in 2011, and 3,082 deaths were expected. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women. Risk factors for colon cancer include a personal family history of the disease.

In addition to testing, there are healthy lifestyle behaviors individuals can adopt to reduce risk of colon cancer. Studies show that being overweight or obese increases risk of colon cancer, and people whose diets include a high amount of red and processed meats are at increased risk. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on five or more days of the week; and consume a healthy diet. Cancer risk is reduced by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

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