Colorectal Cancer is America’s No. 2 Killer

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Photo: American Cancer Society/Getty Images

Photo: American Cancer Society/Getty Images

fred-bodimer Fred Bodimer
Fred Bodimer joined KMOX in 1982 after graduating from the University...
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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS, Mo (KMOX) – Colon cancer specialists are making a big push to remind people of the importance of getting a colonoscopy. America’s No.2 killer is colorectal cancer.

“Every person in the United States of America should consider getting screened for colorectal cancer, beginning at age 50,” says Dr. Harry Sarles, President of the American College of Gastroenterology.

Only one in three people between 50 and 75 gets a colonoscopy — which is pretty much always covered by insurance. Sarles says more than 75 to 90 percent of colorectal cancer can be avoided through early detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps.

“Colorectal cancer screening is an American public health success story,” says Sarles. “The incidents and mortality are down due to screening programs. However, these screening programs are underutilized.”

He says that death rates per year are around 1,000 and new cases diagnosed in Missouri are around 3,000.

Sarles says in Illinois, 2,100 people die from colon cancer a year, with 5,500 new cases expected to be diagnosed this year.

“We now know that only 1 in 3 people, between age 50-75, are actually taking advantage of… really almost a gift because you can access screening and it’s almost always paid for by the healthcare programs.”

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