Harvard Men's Health Watch

Colon cancer testing: What's in it for you?

colon cancer testing
Image: iStock

Being checked for hidden colorectal cancer is a smart bet, though it's hard to say whether it will ultimately extend your life span.

Recently, the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable—a national organization of medical groups, health care providers, government agencies, and patient advocates—launched the "80% by 2018" initiative. The goal is to convince more people to get screened for hidden colorectal cancer. Right now, about 65% of Americans do so.

If the 80% in 2018 initiative moves you to action, what benefit can you expect? Being screened with colonoscopy or some other method can identify precancerous growths, called polyps, on the colon wall. Once removed, polyps can't turn into cancer.

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