About half of all colon cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone between 50 and 75 got screened regularly. Want to hear another reassuring statistic? Caught in its early stages through a screening, the 5-year-survival rate for colon cancer is 90 percent. So why is it that about one-third of Americans in the at-risk age group have NEVER been tested?
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One word: colonoscopies. This screening can be time-consuming (you need at least half a day to clean out your system with clear liquids and laxatives, then another day to recuperate from the sedation and procedure itself) and painful, so many people skip it--with sometimes deadly results.
If you've been putting yours off, a panel of doctors known as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has just made your life easier. It turns out there are other alternatives to a colonoscopy, and after reviewing the results, the experts stated that all the tests get the job done. In fact, the doctors said, the best screening test is the one you're most likely to get.
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Your choices: The virtual colonoscopy, which uses an x-ray to probe your colon and intestines; a home test called Cologuard, which checks your BMs for changes to the DNA that could signal cancer; two other type of tests that also check your stool (and that you can do at home); and something called a sigmoidoscopy, which just checks the lower part of your colon without the pain or side effects of a colonoscopy. Insurance should cover the costs for all these screening tests.
Now you have no excuse. For further motivation, read about these celebrities who've survived cancer of all sorts in the gallery below.
Edie Falco: Breast cancer, 2004 Falco kept her treatment a secret from her Sopranos co-stars. “Surviving cancer has a way of making you re-prioritize," she's said. In her case, it meant starting a family.
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