Regular Colorectal Screening Saves Lives
For Immediate Release: March 15, 2005
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON -< In Vermont, colorectal cancer is a leading killer of men and women and one of the few cancers that can be prevented by having a screening test.
Regular screening tests for adults age 50 and older can prevent colorectal cancer - cancer of the colon and rectum - by removing abnormal growths (polyps) before they turn cancerous. Screening tests can find cancer early when treatment is most effective.
The Vermont Department of Health is joining with the American Cancer Society and the federal Centers for Disease Control, in urging Vermonters to talk with their health care providers about when they should be tested for colorectal cancer, and what test they should have.
While the majority of colorectal cancer cases occur in people over the age of 50, only 54 percent of Vermonters age 50 and older have had the recommended screening tests. Each year in Vermont, an estimated 359 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed and approximately 134 people die of the disease.
In the United States, an estimated 90 million Americans are at risk for developing colorectal cancer. Because a major risk factor for this type of cancer is age, routine screening is recommended for men and women age 50 and older.
Screening recommendations for people over 50 are:
- Fecal occult blood test (FOBT-a chemical test for blood in the stool sample) every year, or
- Sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or
- FOBT annually and sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or
- Colonoscopy every 10 years, or
- Double-contrast barium enema every 5-10 years.
For more information about colorectal cancer, please see the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorctl/ .