istockphoto

istockphoto

AARP and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) are encouraging Alabamians age 50-plus to be screened for colorectal cancer. Only 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in Alabama are taking advantage of the free annual wellness visit, which includes scheduling for the screening.

Colorectal cancer was the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the state in 2012, according to ADPH, yet the disease is preventable when precancerous polyps are removed as a result of screening.

When colorectal cancers are detected at an early localized stage, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. Only 39 percent are diagnosed at that stage, however, in part due to underuse of screening.

For more information, go to adph.org/colon or call the state’s FITWAY program at 334-206-3336.