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In observation of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, the American Cancer Society is reminding people to get tested regularly for the disease in an effort to reduce the number of people afflicted with the condition by half.
Colorectal cancer, commonly referred to as colon cancer, is the third most-commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women in the U.S. and will claim an estimated 50,000 lives this year, according to the ACS. With early testing, half of those lives could be saved.
"Routine colon cancer testing can actually prevent the disease from occurring," said Marcie Lawson, community manager from Missouri's Health Initiative program. "Societal roadblocks, however, need to be overcome to make this the norm. Many people find colon cancer an embarrassing topic to discuss, even with their doctors."
People whose colon cancers are found at an early stage through lab testing have five-year survival rates of 90 percent, according to the article.
According to the ACS, among those who are at a heightened risk of developing the condition are those who are over 50, have a family history of the disease, a diet high in red meat, smoke regularly and are of African descent.
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