Health Watch - Finding Cancer: Colon Cancer Screenings

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.

Perhaps the most important step in treating cancer is finding it in the first place. Researchers are looking for new ways to detect cancer, as well as to determine the kind and severity of the cancer. That makes it more likely that treatment will be effective. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about some ways to detect and analyze cancer.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death, but the five-year survival rate is 90 percent when it’s detected early enough. Dr. Samir Gupta, a colon specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says regular screening is essential for saving lives. Screening tests include testing the stool for small amounts of blood and examining the inside of the colon in a colonoscopy. Regular screenings should start at age 50, but people at higher risk, including those with a family history of colon cancer, may need to start screenings earlier.

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August 2009

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