Health Watch - Colorectal Cancer: Early Detection

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so this week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about this cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The colon is the large intestine, which processes and eliminates digestive waste. When detected and treated early enough, colorectal cancer has a high survival rate.

Dr. Samir Gupta, a colon specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says regular screening — even of people who have no symptoms — is key to saving lives. People over the age of 50 should be screened for colorectal cancer at least once a year. People who have a higher risk include those with a family history of colon cancer, those who have had polyps in the colon and those who have had blood in the stool. These people should talk to a doctor about starting screenings earlier or having them more frequently.

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March 2009

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