Colon Cancer Deaths May Be Prevented With More Tests, Lifestyle Changes

Colon cancer, the third-most-lethal form of the disease for both men and women, would continue an almost three-decade decline with increased screening, the American Cancer Society said.

The colon cancer rate, which has been dropping “since the mid-1980s,” would also fall if people modify their lifestyles, the Atlanta-based group said in a report. Only about half of the U.S. population aged 50 and older is up-to-date on colon cancer screening, the report said.

About 141,000 people will be diagnosed with the cancer, and 49,000 people will die from the disease this year, the group said. In addition to screening, people can reduce their colon cancer risk through 30 minutes of daily physical activity, not smoking, limiting intake of red and processed meats and alcohol, and maintaining a proper body weight, according to the report.

“A recent study found that about one-quarter of colorectal cancer cases could be avoided by following a healthy lifestyle,” the authors of the report said.

The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer is about 5 percent for people in the U.S., the group said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Lopatto in New York at elopatto@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net.

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