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Colon Cancer
The Importance of Screening

Colon cancer often begins as a small polyp which can be detected through regular screening and testing such as a colonoscopy. Symptoms of colon cancer may be nonexistent so often times people have no idea they have it and that is why testing is so important.

When one does have symptoms it typically shows up as changes in bowel movements with a feeling of not being able to empty the bowel completely, rectal bleeding and/or cramping, dark blood in the stool, long thin stools, fatigue, loss of appetite and pelvic pain. Early detection helps enormously in the effectiveness of treatments such as surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Kevin Richardson
Backstreet Boys

The Importance of Getting the Word Out

Kevin Richardson of the band the Backstreet Boys understands that talking about colons can be an unpleasant subject. ``But if it can save someone's life, it's worth it,'' said Richardson, who appears in a series of public service announcements that urge children to discuss colon, or colorectal, cancer and its treatment with their parents.

Richardson said he feels a responsibility to educate others about the disease that ended the life of his father in 1991. Richardson thinks if children talk to their parents about colon cancer, it will encourage parents to seek information about the disease before it's too late. ``Children have a great impact on their parents,'' said Richardson.

In 2004, about 147,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed and about 56,700 people will die of the disease, said Leonard Lichtenfeld, a deputy chief medical officer with the American Cancer Society. But if the cancer is detected early and still is localized, it can be cured in about 90 percent of those cases, he said.

For more information visit the Colon Cancer Alliance:


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