Gov. Mike Parson has proclaimed March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Staying up to date on screening is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).
Parson, state health officials and advocates gathered last week to generate awareness of colorectal cancer, a DHSS news release stated.
In Missouri, colorectal cancer has the second highest incidence and mortality rate among cancers for men and women combined, according to the release.
While colorectal cancer affects predominately older populations -- with around 90 percent of new cases occurring in people who are 50 or older -- the newsletter also quotes a new report by the American Cancer Society that indicates younger people are diagnosed with more cases than ever before.
As many as one in three eligible Americans are not up-to-date on their screenings, according to the newsletter.
Heidi Miller, the chief medical officer with the DHSS, said: "Prevention is key ... it is now recommended to start screening at age 45 (or earlier if high personal risk or family history exists) via colonoscopies or stool cards. Screening tests ... (allow) for better outcomes with early treatment."
It is encouraged that individuals talk with their health care provider to determine the screening test that is most appropriate for them, according to the release.
"Other ways to reduce one's risk of colorectal cancer, and many other chronic diseases, include maintaining a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding tobacco and increasing physical activity," according to the DHSS.