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Experts get word out on colorectal cancer

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The American Cancer Society has joined with health care professionals and labor leaders to urge men and women age 50 and older to get tested for colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer (also known as colon cancer) and cervical cancer are the only cancers that can be prevented through screening to find precancerous abnormalities, says the American Cancer Society.

"We have an opportunity to significantly reduce death rates from colon cancer through regular screening," Dr. Virginia Pressler, Hawaii Pacific Health executive vice president and past president, American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific Board of Directors, said in a news release.

The cancer society cites these facts about colorectal cancer:

» About 474 new cases of colon cancer and 219 cases of rectum cancer are diagnosed in Hawaii annually and cause about 216 deaths per year.

» Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men after prostate and lung cancer and second among women after breast cancer.

» Both sexes combined, colorectal cancer causes the second highest number of total cancer deaths in Hawaii after lung cancer.

» More than 80 percent of residents who develop colorectal cancer are 55 or older when diagnosed.

» The highest colon cancer incidence and mortality rates are among Japanese men and women.

» Dietary and physical activity may affect incidence among different racial and ethnic groups.

Besides screening, the American Cancer Society urges residents to "eat healthy and exercise regularly."


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