How Does Utah Stack Up to the Nation for Colon Cancer Prevention?

Striving to Meet the "80% in Every Community" Goal

March is dedicated as National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, a time to spread colon cancer awareness and urge preventative screening for those 50 and older. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men and women combined in the United States and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Utah. The lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is 5%. When colon cancer is detected early, there is a 90% survival rate.

The latest statistics from the American Cancer Society (ACS) rank Utah’s compliance colon cancer screening at age 50 above the national average, at 71.5%, but we’re not there yet. Screenings among the Hispanic and African American populations in Utah are occurring at less than the national average. According to the CDC, “While the rate of cancer diagnoses and cancer deaths continue to decline each year, the number of new cases and deaths is going up. This happens because the size of our [Utah] population is growing and aging each year.” Utah still ranks among the lowest incidence of colorectal cancer in the nation.

Nationwide, alarming new statistics show colorectal cancer rates climbing in younger and middle-aged adults, prompting the American Cancer Society (ACS) to suggest colon cancer screenings for those at average risk begin at age 45 instead of 50. Even though this opinion has not yet been adopted by the CDC, gastroenterological societies or insurance providers, it is suggested that adults with a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer get screened earlier than 50.

Granite Peaks Gastroenterology is a local medical practice that specializes in providing life-saving colon cancer screenings to the public. For the third year in a row, Granite Peaks GI has partnered with other local medical providers, the American Cancer Society and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) to meet the NCCRT goal of providing colonoscopy cancer screenings for 80% or more of adults 50 and older in every community.

“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem and adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it. But we have found that many people aren’t getting tested because they don’t believe they are at risk, don’t understand their testing options or don’t think they can afford it,” said Dr. Andrew Heiner, board-certified gastroenterologist at Granite Peaks GI. “The truth is, most cases of colorectal cancer occur in people age 50 and older, and in its early stages usually has no symptoms. Plus, many public and private insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening, and there may be local resources available to help those who are uninsured.”

Unfortunately, even with improved awareness and an increased rate of screenings, one in three people who develop colon cancer will succumb to the disease. Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives and removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether. A colonoscopy is the only way to get both advantages in one test.

“Colon cancer is preventable. A screening colonoscopy is painless, modest and safe,” said Dr. Christopher Cutler, board-certified gastroenterologist at Granite Peaks Gastroenterology. “This simple test could save your life. Many patients have remarked, ‘If I had known how easy this procedure is, I would have scheduled a colonoscopy a long time ago.’”


Granite Peaks Gastroenterology specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the digestive system. Granite Peaks GI’s board-certified physicians provide consultations at two locations, in Sandy and Lehi, Utah. They perform endoscopic procedures, including colonoscopy and upper GI endoscopy. For more information about Granite Peaks Gastroenterology or the digestive conditions its physicians treat, please call (801) 619-9000 or visit

To schedule an interview with one of our board-certified gastroenterologists, please contact us using the press contact information above.




Source: Granite Peaks Gastroenterology