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updated: 2/27/2013 1:47 PM

Colorectal cancer can be treated if detected early

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David Hass

DUPAGE COUNTY--March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month and the DuPage County Health Department recommends that County residents get screened for this disease because it is one of the few cancers that can be successfully treated if detected early.

At least six out of every 10 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented if all men and women aged 50 years or older were screened routinely.

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Precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) can be present in the colon for years before invasive cancer develops. They may not cause any symptoms. Colorectal cancer screening can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. In this way, colorectal cancer is prevented. Screening can also find colorectal cancer early, when there is a greater chance that treatment will be most effective and lead to a cure.

About 51,000 Americans die of colorectal cancer each year. It is a leading cause of death for both men and women, but there is hope. Mortality rates for colorectal cancer have been declining for 20 years--mostly due to screening and early treatment.

The Health Department recommends these colorectal cancer prevention tips:

• Be physically active for at least 30 minutes, at least five days a week.

• Maintain a healthy weight.

• Don't smoke. Quit if you do smoke.

• If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink a day if you're a woman or two drinks a day if you're a man.

• Eat fruits, vegetable and whole grains to stay healthy.

• Eat less red meat and cut out processed meats.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.

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