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[ISDH]Screening and Lifestyle are Key to Preventing Colon Cancer
Start Date: 3/11/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 3/11/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS—When it comes to colorectal cancer, getting regular screenings and making healthy lifestyle choices, like avoiding tobacco, affect a person’s chance of getting and finding the disease—and Hoosiers should listen up. According to the Indiana State Cancer Registry, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in Indiana.


The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 3,000 Hoosiers will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and almost 1,100 will likely die as a result of the disease during 2014 alone; however, an estimated 60 percent of these deaths could be prevented through screening and early detection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


“Colon cancer is a devastating disease for individuals and families,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Sadly it often goes undetected until the later stages, when treatment is less effective.  I lost my own father to colon cancer and my wish is that no family has to endure this horrible disease. If you are an adult over 50 or have a family history of the disease, talk with your physician about how often you should be getting screened.”


Approximately 63 percent of Indiana adults age 50 and over have been screened for colorectal cancer, according to the 2012 Indiana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey.


Colorectal cancer screening is recommended for men and women aged 50 to 75 using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Regular screening recommendations are below, but will vary based on individual risk:

·         High-sensitivity FOBT (stool test) – Annually

·         Flexible sigmoidoscopy – Once every five years

·         Colonoscopy – Once every 10 years (Colonoscopy is also used as a follow-up test if anything unusual is found during one of the other screening tests.)


Men over the age of 50 have the highest risk of developing colon cancer. During 2007-2011, colorectal cancer incidence rates were 29 percent higher among Indiana men than women and in 2011, 90 percent of colon cancer diagnoses occurred in those ages 50 and older, according to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2012 report.


Other risk factors for colorectal cancer include: race, personal or family history, diabetes and modifiable risk factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, eating a diet high in processed or red meats and alcohol consumption. Smoking was recently identified as a known cause of colorectal cancer in the recent Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking–50 Years of Progress


Medicare and most insurance plans help pay for colorectal cancer screening. To learn more about screening options in your community, call 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-227-2345).


March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Resources to help with colorectal cancer education and outreach are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at


Those interested in reducing the burden of cancer in Indiana should consider participating in the Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC). The ICC is a statewide network of partnerships whose mission is to reduce the cancer burden in Indiana through the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive plan that addresses cancer across the continuum from prevention through palliation. Participation in the ICC is open to all organizations and individuals interested in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, quality of life, data collection and advocacy regarding cancer-related issues. For more information about colorectal cancer in Indiana or the ICC, visit

To visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website, go to For important health and safety tips, follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at



Contact Information:
Name: Ken Severson
Phone: 317.233.7104
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Family & Health
  • Agency Name
    Health, Indiana State Department of

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