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Easy to Prevent, Easy to Detect

Of all the types of cancer, colon cancer is one of the most preventable and, if caught early, one of the most curable. So overcoming a little bit of squeamishness to learn about colon cancer is well worth it.

Cancer of the colon or rectum is called colorectal cancer. It develops in the digestive tract from harmless polyps that over time mutate into a cancerous tumor. The cancer cells then invade and destroy nearby tissue and can break away to form new tumors in other parts of the body, a process called metastisis.

Fortunately colon cancer is both preventable and highly treatable when detected early. Leading an active, physical life and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables with their protective phytochemicals are the first steps. It is estimated that lifestyle changes alone could decrease the risk of colon cancer by 60 percent to 80 percent!

But a healthy lifestyle isn't enough; screening and early detection are keys to survival. People with colon cancer may be asymptomatic for many years, and precancerous lesions or polyps may take 10 years to transform from benign to malignant. When caught early, the likelihood of full recovery is excellent; more than 90 percent of patients with early stage colon cancer survive more than five years.

 

Did you know?
Colon cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Approximately 50,000 Americans will die as a result of colon cancer in 2008. Yet if more people underwent screening, survival rates would improve dramatically.

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For more information about cancer prevention and early detection, visit the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance's Cancer Prevention Clinic.
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Future Film Directors
against colon cancer deaths! We're pleased to reveal the five winners of the top prizes in our Get Screened! video contest. Thanks again to everyone who took up our creative challenge, which shines a spotlight on the importance of colorectal-cancer screening.

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