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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Colon cancer deaths drop

Deaths from colorectal cancer -- the third biggest cancer killer -- have dropped 3 percent a year from 2001 to 2010 thanks in large part to an increase in screening among Americans over age 50 and better treatments. Fewer Americans are also getting diagnosed with the cancer these days because colonoscopies can snip out precancerous polyps before they turn malignant.

That good news was reported by American Cancer Society researchers in the cancer journal CA earlier this week, but cancer society leaders and public health officials would like to see even more Americans getting screened for colon cancer. “One in three adults ages 50 to 75 aren’t getting screened as recommended,” said Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in a press briefing that coincided with the report’s release on Monday. The goal: Get that number to drop to one in five by 2018.

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