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The Screen Team

Less unpleasant colon exams might catch more cancers

11:55am, August 15, 2006

As tumors go, those in the colon and rectum are among the most preventable. In their early stages, they're also beatable. Yet every year in the United States, nearly 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer emerge, and the disease kills about 55,000 people. Those numbers make colorectal cancer the fourth-most-common and second-most-lethal malignancy. The problem, doctors say, is that many people don't get screened for the cancer when they should.

Screening is recommended for people age 50 and up. Optical colonoscopy, the most thorough test, can alert doctors to an emerging threat—a precancerous growth called a polyp—mo

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