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Doctors Recommend Screening for Colon Cancer at 45

As part of colon cancer awareness month, Iowans are being reminded of the importance of early screenings for one of the state’s biggest cancer killers. Dr. Steve Schlack-Haerer, a gastroenterologist at Gundersen Health System, says colon cancer is the third-leading cause of death in both men and women. He recommends screenings starting at age 45, and then every ten years.

There are several ways to test for colon cancer, but he says colonoscopies are the best and most accurate. While everyone should get screened, some people may be at greater risk.

While colon cancer is the number-three cancer killer, he says significant progress is being made through screenings, as a decade ago, it was the second-leading cause of cancer death.

A few years back, colonoscopies were recommended at age 50, but that’s been pushed up five years due to a rising number of earlier cases. He says people with a family history of colon cancer should consider getting screened even sooner.

When found early, he says the five-year survival rate for colon cancer can be well above 90-percent. Gundersen Health System has clinics in Calmar, Decorah, Fayette, Lansing, Postville and Waukon, and a hospital in West Union.

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