With March being Colon Cancer Awareness Month, it’s time that the public and media paid more attention to this silent and deadly disease. Despite being the 3rd most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the 3rd leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States, the stigma of colon cancer screenings in the United States and abroad still prevents the majority of adults from being screened. 

The statistics do not lie, but the reality is that no one wants to talk about colonoscopies. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the most overlooked, life-saving fact: if all adults received a routine screening starting at the age of 50, more than 90 percent of colorectal cancers could be prevented, and at least 60 percent of all deaths avoided. 

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If caught early, colon cancer is treatable, often curable, and preventable. The time has come to practice and preach awareness, and erase the stigma of a silent killer. We need to start an open and honest conversation.  In doing so, we will reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer and save countless lives. The public needs to come to a better understanding that colorectal screenings can and will save lives. 

Colorectal health, much like colorectal screenings, are misunderstood.  Public discourse is necessary in order to educate the masses. More often than not, colorectal screenings that involve generating structural information (we need a parenthetical to explain what this means in lay terms) about the colon are highly effective in the prevention of cancer because those procedures allow for potentially precancerous polyps to be identified and removed. Due to technological advances, these minimally invasive procedures can catch these polyps at the earliest stages and prevent the development of cancer. 

Some of the recent innovations include the development of an imaging pill that, unlike all traditional colonoscopy procedures and other camera-pills on the market today, can scan the colorectal tract without requiring a cleanse beforehand.  Traditional colonoscopies will still be necessary for those with polyps, but these innovations will help us screen more people, catch those polyps earlier, and hopefully, save many lives in the process.

The time to act is now. We must raise awareness and cease avoiding a topic that has, all too often, led to tragic consequences. The life you save by speaking up may be your own. 

Neev is CEO of Check-Cap Ltd., a company offering a non-invasive, prep-free imaging test for colon cancer.