According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Oklahoma and in the nation, and it’s the third most common cancer in this state. In an effort to raise awareness about this disease, Sen. Debbe Leftwich, co-chair of the Legislative Cancer Caucus, authored a resolution recognizing March as “National Colon Cancer Awareness Month” in Oklahoma. The measure was approved by the full Senate on Monday.
“Last year alone in Oklahoma, almost 1,900 new cases of colon cancer were diagnosed. Seven hundred of our citizens died from it,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “The tragedy is that colon cancer is almost always curable if it’s caught early. But only half of all people age 50 and older have the screening tests that could make a difference.”
According to the American Cancer Society, screening rates are 40 percent higher in states that have
passed meaningful coverage laws.
“Regular screening saves lives, because it catches colon polyps before they become cancerous. Even if the tests reveal cancer in the colon, it can be successfully treated more than 90 percent of the time,” Leftwich said. “Awareness coupled with screening saves lives.”