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E. The Advantages of Colon Cancer Screening

Narrator: This is Science Today. Each year, about 55 thousand people will die from colon cancer, making it the second-highest cause of death from cancer in the nation. And yet, if detected early, colon cancer can usually be treated successfully. But Dr. Charles Theuer, of the University of California, Irvine, says there's a certain stigma associated with getting screened for colon cancer.

Theuer: Educated people that know all the pros and cons, know it's very safe and it can save your life, still say, "Oh - I just don't want to do it." So we've got to somehow get the stigma to the other side - we've got to make it a stigma not to have it done and right now we're not at that point.

Narrator: Theuer says one of the big advantages of colon cancer screening is the fact that polyps, which are sometimes a precursor to cancer, can also be removed during the procedure.

Theuer: Which is a real advantage in colon cancer screening that you don't see for instance in breast cancer screening. There, we're looking for cancers - early stage. In colon cancer, we're looking for early stage cancers, but what we really can do is get rid of the polyps that become cancers before there's any chance of the patient having a problem.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.