Great News—Colon Cancer Incidence Decreasing

I love spreading the word when good news comes out. Sadly, it seems the Internet is ripe with bad news these days. Shocking headlines get more clicks, so sometimes it can feel as though bad news is all there is. Today I have some good news to help balance the onslaught of negative headlines. According to a recent report by the American Cancer Society, colon cancer rates have dropped 30 percent in the United States in the last 10 years. That’s great news, for sure.

The researchers attribute the decrease to the increase in screening colonoscopies, particularly in older adults. Only 19 percent of adults aged 50 to 75 got colonoscopies in 2000 compared to 55 percent in 2010. That’s an impressive increase. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and also the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Because colon cancer develops slowly, screening for colon polyps with routine colonoscopy is one of the best ways to protect against its advancement.

Experts call for an even further decrease, however. “These continuing drops in incidence and mortality show the lifesaving potential of colon cancer screening; a potential that an estimated 23 million Americans between ages 50 and 75 are not benefitting from because they are not up to date on screening,” said Richard Wender, MD, Chief Cancer Control Officer of the American Cancer Society.

If you are age 50 or over and you haven’t yet scheduled your colonoscopy, do so today—and every 10 years thereafter unless your doctor tells you that you need more frequent screening. Sure, colonoscopies aren’t exactly a walk in the park, but they save lives. Schedule yours today.