Maine CDC Press Release

March 21, 2018

Maine CDC Stresses the Importance of Screening During National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer can be prevented with regular screening

AUGUSTA—As the nation recognizes March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages Mainers to talk with a health care provider about being screened for the disease. Colorectal cancer remains the third-leading cause of new cancer cases and cancer-related deaths in Maine.

"Over the last decade, both the number of deaths from colorectal cancer and the number of new colorectal cancer cases diagnosed in Maine have been decreasing. This is largely due to the CDC's efforts in promoting increased screenings and improvements in treatment, as well as the promotion of healthier diets and exercise," said Maine CDC Director, Dr. Bruce Bates. "However, while many people know that the early detection of cancer is important to a positive long-term outcome, some cancers such as colorectal cancer can also be prevented with regular screening."

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) continues to support the US Preventative Services Task Force colorectal cancer screening recommendations through promotions by the Maine CDC's Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Program. The Program promotes a variety of educational messaging activities with health care providers, the public, and members of the State of Maine Health Plan.

The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you age with more than 90% of cases occurring in people who are 50 years old or older. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 50 and continuing until age 75.  The risk of developing colorectal cancer may be reduced through healthy lifestyle choices such as: maintaining a healthy body weight, being physically active, eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in red and processed meats, limiting the intake of alcohol, and not smoking. These healthy behaviors can help to reduce the risk of colorectal and other types of cancers.

It is important to talk with a health care provider about your medical history and the risks for all cancers. If you are 50 or older, talk with your healthcare provider about which colorectal cancer screening test is right for you. For more information and resources on colorectal cancer visit www.screenmaine.org/colon-cancer.