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Maine CDC stresses the importance of screening for National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

AUGUSTA – As the nation recognizes March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention encourages Mainers to talk with a health care provider about being screened for the disease. Colorectal cancer remains the third-leading cause of new cancer cases and cancer-related deaths in Maine.

“Over the last decade, the number of deaths from colorectal cancer and the number of new colorectal cancer cases diagnosed in Maine has decreased. This is largely due to screening and improvements in treatment, as well as more healthful diets and exercise,” said Acting CDC Director Nancy Beardsley. “However, while many people know that the early detection of cancer is important to a positive long-term outcome, some cancers such as colorectal cancer can also be prevented with regular screening.”

The risk of getting colorectal (or colon) cancer increases with age, with more than 90 percent of cases occurring in people who are aged 50 years or older. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 50 and continuing until age 75. The risk of developing colorectal cancer can be reduced through healthy lifestyle choices such as: maintaining a healthy body weight; being physically active; eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in red and processed meats; limiting the intake of alcohol; and not smoking. These healthy behaviors also can help to reduce the risk of other types of cancers.

It is important to talk with a health care provider about your medical history and risks for all cancers. People who are aged 50 years or older should talk with their health care provider about which colorectal cancer screening test is right for them.

For more information and resources on colorectal cancer visit: http://www.screenmaine.org/colon-cancer.

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