Colon cancer is the fourth most deadly form of cancer in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), more than 132,000 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year and nearly 50,000 will die from the disease. However, colon cancer is actually one of only two cancers that can be completely prevented by screening. It is also one of the most successfully treated cancers if diagnosed early. The five-year survival rate is around 90 percent for colon cancers caught in their earliest stage. March is national colon cancer awareness month.
To mark the occasion, hundreds of Independence associates showed their support by participating in “Wear Blue Day” to support colon cancer awareness at Independence’s headquarters on March 24. Independence is partnering with the ACS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on an aggressive campaign to increase the colon cancer screening rate among people ages 50 and older to 80 percent by 2018.
Getting educated about colon cancer is the first step and being aware of screening guidelines. The ACS recommends that most people begin regular screening at age 50, as more than 90 percent of cases are diagnosed in individuals 50 and older. People at higher risk, such as those with a family history of the disease, may need to start screening earlier. Obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, heavy alcohol use, a diet high in red or processed meat, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables can also increase your chance of having colon cancer.
We’re also excited that as part of a new preventive wellness benefit, Independence employees are now entitled to a full day’s paid time off for a colonoscopy screening. For more information about colon cancer and the options for screening tests, visit American Cancer Society Colon Cancer Screening.