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BLOOMINGTON — It's no secret that pink dominates during October. Breast cancer awareness efforts have changed the way communities respond to conversations about breast health and mammograms. Nearly 75 percent of women report that they are on track with recommended screening guidelines.

But only about 55 percent of women are up to date on colon cancer screening, even though colon cancer is largely preventable through screening, said the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Colon cancer is the third deadliest cancer for women, with an estimated 24,000 women dying from this disease each year, according to the alliance.

The alliance's "Screen This Too!" campaign seeks to expand the conversation, inviting women to ask their doctors this month whether they are due for colon cancer screening.

According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer patients have a 20 to 80 percent increased risk of colon cancer compared with the general population.

"This is not an 'old man's disease' as some may think," said Jasmine Greenamyer, the alliance's chief operating officer. "Studies show men and women are diagnosed at nearly equal rates.

"Don't put it off — when you head to the doctor for your annual checkup, be sure to tell your medical team to 'screen this too.'"

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Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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