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    Tackling the Second Leading Cause of Cancer Death in the U.S. and Maryland; Screenings Can Save Lives

    Baltimore, MD (March 12, 2015) – March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month,  a time to raise awareness of colorectal cancer.  This type of cancer develops in the colon or the rectum and is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States and in Maryland.  The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015, about 2,360 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in Maryland and 860 deaths will occur due to the disease.
    The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and community partners are working  together to educate Maryland residents about colorectal cancer and to urge doctors and health care providers to recommend colorectal cancer screening for eligible patients.  For those who qualify, DHMH has programs that provide free colorectal cancer screening.
    'Screenings save lives,' said Dr. Laura Herrera Scott, DHMH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services.  'Early detection of pre-cancerous polyps or the beginning stages of cancer can lead to treatment and a cure.'
    There are several type of screening tests available including colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, fecal immunochemical test (FIT), and fecal occult blood test (FOBT).   DHMH encourages individuals age 50 and over and those under 50 with a family history of colorectal cancer to speak with their doctor about when to be screened and which method is recommended.
    Some risk factors for colorectal cancer are:
    • age (most colorectal cancers are diagnosed after age 50),
    • cigarette smoking,
    • obesity, and
    • excessive alcohol use. 

    For more information about DHMH's screening programs and the eligibility criteria, please visit: http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/cancer/SitePages/crc_home.aspx.  For additional information on colorectal cancer, please visit http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/specialcoverage/how-acs-fights-colon-cancer.

    The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the state government agency that protects Maryland’s public health and also works to help Marylanders make better health decisions for better health outcomes. Stay connected: www.twitter.com/MarylandDHMH and www.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH.