GREEN BAY, WI – March 5, 2012 – In Wisconsin colon cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in both men and women combined. From 2003 to 2007 only about 40 percent of invasive colon cancers in Wisconsin were diagnosed at an early stage.
More Wisconsin residents die of colon or rectum cancer than either breast or prostate cancer. This year more than 2,700 people in Wisconsin are estimated to be diagnosed with colon cancer and more than 900 will die from the disease. Only lung cancer kills more people.
About half of all colon cancer deaths in the U.S. each year could be prevented if everyone age 50 and older were screened for colon cancer.
Colon cancer is one of only two cancers that can be prevented through screening. Colon cancer almost always starts with a polyp, which many times can be removed before becoming cancerous. The key to preventing colon cancer is to find it early; to understand your family’s health history; and to talk to your doctor about when and how to get screened.
Most people should start getting tested for colon cancer at age 50, but people with a family history are at higher risk. You are at increased risk if you have a parent, sibling, or child who has had colon cancer or colon polyps. The risk is even higher if they were diagnosed before age 60. About 20 percent of all colon cancer patients have a close relative who was also diagnosed with the disease.