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Colon Cancer Screenings

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51-year-old James Ricchiuti is relieved he can say that - after a colonoscopy found two polyps.

"From what I'm told, uh, one of the two polyps would have turned into cancer."

He had a routine colonoscopy after he turned 50 which is the recommended age to start colon cancer screening.

Now a new study from the American Cancer Society shows screening is paying off.

The number of colon cancer cases has dropped 30% in the last decade for those 50 years and older. "It's a great public health triumph. We have a lot more work to go but we're not beginning from scratch," says Dr. Richard Wender of the American Cancer Society.

Research shows the number of adults having colonoscopies has tripled in recent years, causing the drop in colon cancer cases.

The largest decrease is in Americans 65 and older. Death rates are also dropping. "Colon cancer is one of the probably most preventable cancers and one of the most curable cancers that we deal with," says Dr. Sang Lee.

Ricchiuti is doing well after his polyps were removed. He recommends others undergo a colonoscopy.

"It really isn't a big deal- just, just go through it."

He doesn't need another colonoscopy for ten years.

The study is not all good news: it shows the rates of colon cancer are going up slightly for Americans under the age of 50, due to obesity and poor diet.

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