A test that could save your life
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It affects an estimated 148,000 Americans each year and claims more than 56,000 lives annually. In fact, one in 20 people will develop colon cancer at some time during their lives. Almost all colorectal cancer starts as a precancerous growth, which looks like a polyp, that can be detected and removed during colonoscopy.
The good news is that colorectal cancer is preventable through the removal of polyps and also highly treatable if found in its early stages. According to the American Cancer Society, half of all colon cancer deaths in the United States could be prevented if everyone followed recommended screening guidelines. Most people should start getting screened for colorectal cancer at age 50, but people with a family history of colorectal cancer are at higher risk and may need to be screened earlier.
“A colonoscopy is currently one of the best ways to screen for colorectal cancer and the best way to prevent it from happening in the first place,” says Dr. William Grady, UW Medicine gastroenterologist and medical director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “By finding and removing polyps early, we can make colorectal cancer a preventable disease for most people.”
Watch Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s 90 Seconds Closer to a Cure for an interview with Grady about colon cancer screening. Take a look also at the SCCA infographic, The One Thing That Could Save Your Life, to learn more about the benefits of colonoscopies.