Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, killing one person every 9.3 minutes. Men have about the same risk of developing colon cancer as women, although some studies show that men develop colon cancer at a younger age than women.
Over the past 15 years, the incidence of colon cancer has decreased – primarily because more people are undergoing screenings. “A colonoscopy is the most effective screening method for colon cancer,” says Michael R. Freeman, MD, gastroenterologist at Saint Francis Medical Center. “It can reduce the average person’s risk of dying from colon cancer by 90 percent.”
The American Cancer Society recommends that every person receive a colonoscopy beginning at age 50. People who are at high risk – such as those who have a family history of colon cancer – should have screenings earlier and more often.
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