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Doctor warns Arizonans about colorectal cancer

PHOENIX -- March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and it's an awareness that should be taken seriously.

Colorectal cancer is actually the No. 2 cancer killer in America and it tends to go unnoticed, due to the more popular breast or prostate cancers.

"Age is a risk factor,"said Dr. Harry Sarles, president of the American College of Gastroenterology. "The current recommendations are that you get screened beginning at age 50."

It's preventable, if you're properly screened, he said.

"Unlike any other cancer, if you begin screening at the recommended times, that screening test turns into a preventative test by removing precancerous polyps during the exam," Sarles said.

However, one in three of those aged 50 to 75 don't get tested, added Sarles.

"Statistics would suggest that in the next year, there will be over 2,500 newly diagnosed cases and 1,000 deaths per year in the State of Arizona," he said.

More than 20 million adults in the U.S. haven't had any screenings for the potentially fatal cancer.

Diet can also increase the chances of getting colorectal cancer. Fatty or fried food, red meat and overcooked vegetables can cause precancerous polyps.

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