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Preventing Colorectal Cancer is Possible with These Simple Steps

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Colorectal Cancer Prevention is Possible with these Simple Steps Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

Sponsored by: Main Line Health System

Thousands of cancer cases yearly could be prevented by using a test that already exists, but would you believe that more than 40 percent of at-risk people haven’t received it? Dr. John H. Marks discusses how to prevent colorectal cancer, and why some are reluctant to be tested.

Marks is Chief of Colorectal Surgery for Lankenau Medical Center, part of the Main Line Health System near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He directs a colorectal surgical research team and a fellowship in Minimally Invasive Colorectal Surgery and Advanced Rectal Cancer Management, one of only four in the United States.

It’s estimated that 137,000 men and women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) this year, while another 50,000 will die from it. In fact, CRC is the second leading cause of cancer deaths of U.S. men and women. The disease claimed more than 694,000 lives worldwide in 2012, according to the World Health Organization.

But did you know that with proper screening, colorectal cancer can be completely prevented?

That’s right. Marks said that’s because colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and a simple, but impactful, test can keep you CRC-free, and even save your life.

In honor of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we sat down in March with Dr. Marks to talk about this disease.


For the past decade there has been a sustained effort to increase public awareness around the benefits of colorectal screening and increased access to treatment.

And yet only 59 percent of people aged 50 or older, for whom screening is recommended, reported having been screened consistent with the current guidelines, according to the National Health Interview Survey.

From your experience, what factors keep so many people from participating in screening?

Dr. Marks:

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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