The U.S. Senate has officially designated March 2000 as the first annual National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) has joined 34 collaborating organizations to generate widespread awareness about colorectal cancer.
ACG is encouraging all men and women to reduce their risk of developing the disease through healthy lifestyle choices and regular screenings after age 50.
Colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, takes more lives than either breast or prostate cancer in both men and women.
Approximately 130,000 new cases will be diagnosed in 2000, according to ACG.
ACG points out that what many Americans don't know is that colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.
Studies show that early detection and intervention can reduce death from this disease by 90 percent. Yet, many people fail to take advantage of early detection techniques.
Since most early cancers produce no symptoms, it is important to get screened.
ACG has educational material and more information on colorectal cancer risk factors, symptoms and recommendations on its Web site at www.acg.gi.org.