Women underrate importance of colon cancer

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Women significantly underrate their risk for colon cancer and are not as concerned about the disease as they should be, according to a new Good Housekeeping survey conducted on behalf of the Entertainment Industry Foundation's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF's NCCRA).

Although almost the same number of women and men are diagnosed with colon cancer every year (73,320 and 73,620 respectively), and nearly as many women die from it as men (28,410 and 28,320), women tend to focus on the risk of
breast, ovarian and lung cancers and think of colon cancer as a "men's disease," according to the survey.

Katie Couric, who launched EIF's NCCRA after her husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer in 1998, urged physicians attending the meeting to educate their female patients about the importance of screening for colon
cancer.  Colorectal cancer is curable more than 90 percent of the time when the disease is detected early.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined in the United States, but it doesn't have to be. Colon cancer can be successfully treated more than 90 percent of the time when detected early. Getting tested is the first step to beating this disease.

For many people a major obstacle in getting tested is the uncertainty of whether or not their insurance covers the cost of comprehensive colorectal cancer screenings. Unfortunately, there is no Federal legislation that requires insurance providers to cover preventative screenings. However in recent years, several states have passed legislation to address this critical concern.

To help you better understand these varied and complex laws, EIF's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) have created the 2004 Colon Cancer Legislation Report Card. This first-of-its kind, interactive report provides useful information for each state including:

  • AGA's grade evaluation and clear explanation of state laws for colorectal screening coverage
  • Weblinks to actual legislation for current state laws
  • For those states with failing grades, a prepared message that can be e-mailed to your state's Senate Health Committee Chair to petition for quality legislation.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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