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Only 63% of men have lifesaving colon cancer tests

March 24, 2003|Dianne Partie Lange

Colon cancer kills as many men as prostate cancer does, but a survey of nearly 50,000 men across the country found that only 63% of them had had the colorectal screening, while 75% have had the prostate test. Furthermore, the colorectal screening is a proven lifesaver, but the prostate test's effectiveness is a matter of debate.

Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Outcomes Group of the White River Junction VA Hospital in Vermont suggest that men may lag on colorectal screening because the tests are inconvenient or invasive. Men also may feel more vulnerable to prostate cancer since it's the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men, even though in terms of premature death, colon cancer is more of a threat.

"We should make sure that men and women know that screening for colon cancer reduces the chance of dying from the disease," says Dr. Brenda Sirovich, lead author of the study.

-- Dianne Partie Lange

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