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UCAN: No Excuses for Colon Screening

• The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN) want Utahns ages 50 and older know there is “No excuse” for not getting screened for colorectal cancer.

• The disease is the second leading cause of cancer death in Utah and nation.

• Although there is a 90 percent cure rate when detected early, studies show fewer than half of Americans get a preventive screening test.

• The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age, 93 percent of cases occur in people age 50 and older.

Common excuses for not getting screened include:

The excuse: No one in my family has had it.

The reality: Having a family history of colon cancer or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease may increase a person’s risk for colon cancer. However, three in four people diagnosed with colon cancer had no relatives with the disease.

The excuse: Colorectal cancer screening is painful.

The reality: There are many screening tests for colon cancer. The fecal occult blood test is painless. And while colonoscopy may be uncomfortable, it is seldom painful.

The excuse: I don’t have symptoms.

The reality: Early colorectal cancer usually presents no symptoms at all, which is why it’s so important for everyone 50 and over to have regular screenings.

• Colon cancer can be prevented. Regular screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.

• There are no early warning signs of colon cancer, most people don’t show symptoms until the disease is more advanced and more deadly

The excuse: Colorectal cancer is a man’s disease.

The reality: Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women. Some women believe they are not at risk for the disease, but that is just a myth.

The excuse: I can’t afford it.

The reality: There are several options for colorectal cancer screening. Some are more expensive than others and most are covered by insurance. UCAN offers free fecal occult blood test (FOBT) kits.

The American Cancer Society estimates 240 Utahns will die from colorectal cancer and 750 will battle the illness this year.

For more information visit www.ucan.cc or call 1-888-222-2542.

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The mission of the Utah Department of Health is to protect the public’s health through preventing avoidable illness, injury, disability and premature death, assuring access to affordable, quality health care, and promoting healthy lifestyles.

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