FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 08, 2002
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222
In 2001, approximately 135,000 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed, and 56,000 of those individuals died from the disease. That’s a survival rate of only 59 percent. The real tragedy is that almost all of these deaths could have been prevented. When caught early, colorectal cancer may be up to 95 percent curable.
Colorectal cancer can affect anyone. It occurs in almost equal frequency in men and women. Risk for colorectal cancer also increases with age. People at greater risk include those 50 years of age or older and those with a personal or family history of benign colorectal polyps, colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
Screening is one of the most important weapons in the fight against colorectal cancer. Regular screenings are important to catch the disease while it can still be cured. Adults age 50 and older should be screened annually. Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer should begin yearly screening at age 40. A family physician can explain the different screenings available and help patients choose the option that makes the most sense for them.
People with average risks should begin screenings at age 50. People with increased risk should talk to their family physician about their needs for screenings.
Colorectal cancer is a disease you prevent! Take time to talk to your family physician about your family history, your need for screenings and ways to reduce your risk.
# # #
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.