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Cancer Society: Common Myths Cost Lives

March 9, 2009

Madison, WI - When it comes to colon cancer, some common myths are costing a lot of lives in Wisconsin and across the nation. Those myths include misconceptions about who may be at risk and who needs to be tested.

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in Wisconsin, so by busting common myths, the American Cancer Society hopes to save more lives. In Wisconsin, the cancer society is using the occasion of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month to correct some misconceptions about the disease, including who is at risk. Although those over 50 are at higher risk, the disease can strike anyone, the society says.

Steve Davies, Madison, lost his wife to the disease after she was diagnosed at the age of 32.

"We always like to say that we want to see something good come out of something bad. When my wife died in 2002, my son had just turned nine years old and my daughter was 12."

Davies says he will encourage his children to be screened at a young age, given the family history.

Another myth is that colorectal cancer is a man's disease. In reality, colorectal cancer is just as common among women as men. The cancer society says colon cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented through regular testing.

Earlier screening could have saved his wife's life, Davies is sure.

"Had she been checked earlier, there's no doubt that this would have been a very preventable disease. Her tumor was only the size of a quarter when they found it."

Davies says breaking these myths about colon cancer is an important part of the effort to save lives.

"I want to do what I can to make sure that, either through advancing treatments or through simply raising awareness, these younger people realize that yes, it can happen to you."

More information is available from Laurie Pagel at the American Cancer Society of Wisconsin,

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI