A new federal report shows that the rate of adults developing and dying from colorectal cancer has decreased. However, one in three adults are not getting screened for colorectal cancer, which can be prevented and treated if caught early.
Researchers analyzed eight years of data for the report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They found that screening for colorectal cancer increased from 52 percent in 2002 to 65 percent in 2010. But many adults are still not taking advantage of potentially lifesaving colorectal cancer screening tests, researchers said. All adults ages 50 to 75 should be screened, according to federal guidelines.
From 2003 to 2007, roughly 66,000 colorectal cancer cases were prevented and 32,000 lives were saved, according to the CDC. Half of these prevented cases and deaths were directly due to screening.
If more people got screened, fewer people would die from colorectal cancer, officials said. It is the No. 2 cancer kill in the United States costing $14 billion in health care costs last year.
Health authorities emphasize that colorectal cancer can be prevented. Doctors can remove polyps they find during testing, stopping cancer before it even starts.
Other steps to lower your risk of colorectal cancer include:
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains
- Avoiding red or processed meats
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