Although colorectal cancer rates have dropped for both men and women over the last 20 years, nearly half of the U.S. population is not meeting screening guidelines for colon cancer.
To encourage more people to get tested for the disease, the American Cancer Society has launched a campaign that focuses on the importance of knowing your family’s history of colorectal cancer.
“The Family PLZ! campaign is a great way for families to start a conversation about a family history of colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancer for the American Cancer Society, in a news release. “Make a point to learn your family’s history of colorectal cancer, colon polyps and other health issues, and tell your doctor what you learn.”
Health officials say most people should start being screened for colorectal cancer when they turn 50. But those who have a family history or are at higher risk for the disease should be screened earlier, according to the American Cancer Society.
Colorectal cancer is highly treatable if found in its early stages, according to the ACS.
The Family PLZ! campaign asks people to learn their family’s history of colorectal cancer, cancer polyps and share the information with their doctor.
The American Cancer Society recommends the following tests to discover colorectal cancer early so it can be treated:
Tests That Detect Adenomatous Polyps and Cancer
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or
- Colonoscopy every 10 years, or
- Double contrast barium enema (DCBE) every 5 years, or
- CT colonography (CTC) every 5 years
Tests That Primarily Detect Cancer
- Annual guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) with high test sensitivity for cancer, or
- Annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT) with high test sensitivity for cancer, or
- Stool DNA test (sDNA), with high sensitivity for cancer, interval uncertain.
Source: American Cancer Society