Colon cancer rates have dropped 30 percent in the U.S. in the past 10 years among adults 50 and older, mainly because of colonoscopy screening. The largest cancer decrease is in people over age 65. Colonoscopy use has almost tripled among adults ages 50 to 75, from 19 percent in 2000 to 55 percent in 2010.

The findings come from Colorectal Cancer Statistics. The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable hopes to increase screening rates to 80 percent by 2018.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. An estimated 136,830 Americans are diagnosed with it in a year, and 50,310 will die from it.

Its slow growth from precancerous polyp to invasive cancer provides a rare opportunity to prevent cancer through the detection and removal of precancerous growths. Screening allows early detection, when treatment is more successful.

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