“Screening for colorectal cancer is extremely important because early detection of the disease saves lives,” said Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “We strongly recommend getting screened because finding and removing precancerous growths before they become cancerous is very effective in preventing the disease.”
Colorectal cancer is the number two cancer killer among men and women in Michigan, second only to lung cancer. During 2005, 936 men and 993 women in Michigan died of colorectal cancer. Although many Michigan citizens are dying from colorectal cancer, this disease is treatable if detected early.
Everyone is at risk of developing colorectal cancer, also called colon or bowel cancer. The primary risk factor for the disease is increasing age. The Michigan Cancer Consortium recommends colorectal cancer screening for men and women of average risk starting at age 50.Other risk factors include:
“You can help prevent colorectal cancer by getting screened and enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight by exercising regularly, and eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And don’t smoke,” Meyerson said.
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. To schedule colorectal cancer screening, contact your health care provider. For additional information about colorectal cancer screening recommendations, visit the Michigan Cancer Consortium at www.michigancancer.org.