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Colon Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life

With colorectal cancer being found in an increasing number of younger adults, the pressure is on to screen millions more.

Although I usually refrain from writing columns linked to national health observances, I believe that Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, in March, is too important to ignore. There are simply too many people who are still getting and dying from this preventable disease because they failed to get screened for it, including people without excuses like ignorance, lack of health insurance or poor access to medical services.

And as Joy Ginsburg’s experience shows, even some doctors may need to be pushed into encouraging their patients to be tested. Ms. Ginsburg of Leawood, Kan., where she is executive director of an organization that raises private funds for public education, was 48 when her primary care doctor suggested that she have a baseline colonoscopy.

But the gastroenterologist she consulted was reluctant to perform one. “He made fun of me,” she said. “I was not yet 50 and had no symptoms, risk factors or family history of colon cancer.”

Still, Ms. Ginsburg was aware that last year the American Cancer Society had lowered the recommended age to start screening from 50 to 45, so she insisted. And it was lucky that she did. A very large precancerous polyp, the size of a golf ball, was found that required surgical removal along with 40 percent of her colon.

Read on: Colon Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life

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