Awareness of what colon cancer is and how it can be kept from occurring is an important message that needs to be delivered to the Hispanic community. Making individuals aware of what they can do in partnership with their doctors is key to this goal. According to Marcia R. Cruz-Correa, MD, PhD, FASGE, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, “Colon cancer is a largely preventable disease. Colonoscopy screening can detect polyps and remove them before they turn into cancer.”
Colon cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in Hispanic Americans and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Hispanic men, and the third leading in women. It is important for everyone in the community to understand the biggest risk for colon cancer is a person’s age, not their sex. Without definitive symptoms, it is especially important to catch this cancer at an early stage. If caught early, most people are cured. If caught in later stages, the chances for cure are much lower. Regular testing beginning at age 50, or earlier depending on family history, is key to discovering any precancerous polyps.
The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy offers a colon cancer awareness Web site at http://www.screen4coloncancer.org where information is available in Spanish, as well as English.