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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Colon Cancer Screening
March 2000

Q. Should I be screened for colon cancer?

A. Colon cancer screening is suggested for everyone (Women and Men) over the age of 50 years. If your parent or sibling had colon cancer, you should be screened 10 years before they were diagnosed if that is before age 50. Women should be screened because they are just as likely to get colon cancer as a man.

Colon cancer screening works in part because essentially all colon cancers come from polyps. Not all polyps become cancers; perhaps it is only about 5%. Still, if you can find the polyp before it becomes a cancer, it can easily be removed. This then prevents the cancer from even starting.

In addition, you can find some cancers before they spread. This increases your life expectancy and your chance of being cured of the cancer. There are several ways to screen for colon cancer, and these will be discussed in the next question.

You can learn more about colon cancer screening and one person's personal history with the disease at http://members.aol.com/SweetDart/colon.htm.

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