(Hawaii News Now) - While a combination of earlier detection and better treatments have yielded a steady decline in the colorectal cancer death rate over the past 20 years, colorectal cancer will kill an estimated 50,310 people in the U.S. in 2014, 230 in Hawaii, according the American Cancer Society.
Colorectal cancer is one of only a handful of cancers for which screening is proven to save lives, both by finding and removing polyps before they turn cancerous and by finding cancers early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.
During March, National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, the American Cancer Society is highlighting the need to do more to save lives from the nation's third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women by urging patients and their doctors to talk about the importance of colorectal cancer screening, which is recommended for people at average risk beginning at age 50.
More than 1 in 3 adults aged 50 and older are not being screened as recommended for colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that most people begin regular screening at age 50. People at higher risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer, may need to start screening earlier.
The Society is increasing efforts during March and beyond to ensure more people are aware of the lifesaving potential of screenings. As co-founders of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, a coalition of 80 member organizations working to improve screening rates in the US, the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are committed to significantly increasing screening rates.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Society's nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, strongly supported provisions of the Affordable Care Act that reduce or eliminate the cost of colorectal cancer screening and other proven prevention services for patients and require most health plans to cover them.
ACS CAN supports congressional legislation that would lift a financial burden for people living on a fixed income by ensuring men and women on Medicare receive these lifesaving screenings without risking cost sharing. ACS CAN is also working to increase federal funding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Colorectal Cancer Control Program, which provides screenings to low-income and uninsured people.
For more information and guidance on colorectal cancer, click here or call the American Cancer Society 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-227-2345.