According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is expected to claim the lives of 50,630 people this year. The good news is that the death rate for this condition has been dropping over the past few decades. Even though it is moving in the right direction there is still more that can be done to improve the odds.
Are You at Risk for Colon Cancer?
Our risk of developing colon cancer increases as we age. Those with an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease also have an increased risk, along with those who have a family history or genetic syndrome like familial adenomatous polyposis. Your lifestyle can help or hurt your chances of a cancer diagnosis. Contributing factors include:
- A diet that’s low in fiber and high in fat
- A diet that’s low in fruit and vegetables
- Being overweight or obese
- A lack of physical activity
- Tobacco and alcohol use
Support the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act
You can help save lives with early detection by supporting the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act. This legislation has created a problem for Medicare recipients. Those using Medicare can receive a free screening colonoscopy. However, if a polyp is found and removed during the procedure, the patient is required to pay a copayment.
This legal condition causes many Medicare beneficiaries to skip the screening due to an inability to pay if something is found. By lifting this barrier, we can increase screening rates and reduce the number of colorectal cases diagnosed each year.
Schedule a Screening Today
If you haven’t already, now is the best time to schedule a colorectal cancer screening. A screening can uncover pre-cancer polyps even if no other symptoms exist. Contact your gastroenterologist to schedule an appointment.