'We certainly don't want them to forget': Doctors urge people to get screened for colorectal cancer

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- You may notice people dressed in blue on Friday. Dress in Blue Day kicks off Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the country. It's very common but doctors say it's very preventable. The easiest way to fight against colorectal cancer is getting regular colonoscopies.

"The key is to detect these lesions when they're small and easily removable. The larger a polyp or a growth in the colon gets the more likely it is to turn into a cancer so our goal is always to detect these early so we can intercept before they turn into cancer," said Dr Silpa Yalalanchili, UNC Rex.

Over the last two years, many people put off getting screened because of the pandemic. But colonoscopies are the only test doctors have to test growths in the colon and prevent cancer.

You should start getting screened at age 45. If it comes back normal, you don't need another screening for 10 years.

Doctors say early detection could be the difference between life and death.

"Now that things are a little calmer we are encouraging all of those patients who pushed off or delayed their colonoscopies to come in and get their screenings. We certainly don't want them to forget about it as a result of the last two years," Dr. Yalalanchili said.

Doctors say there are at home cancer detection tests but they are only effective in detecting lesions after they've become cancerous.
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