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Over 50? It's time for a colon cancer screening

Sunday - 3/11/2012, 2:51pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Colon cancer generally has no symptoms, and kills nearly 50,000 people year. If you're over 50, it's time to get screened.

Dr. David Hansen, of FoxHall Internists, says that's why colonoscopy screening is critical.

"It's actually uncommon that we have people coming in with symptoms and it turns out to be cancer," says Hansen.

March is colorectal cancer awareness month, and Hansen now's a good time to get a colonoscopy if you're age 50 or older.

Younger if you have a family history.

"In situations when there's a family history of colon cancer, it's often does starting at age 40."

Hansen says people with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis are also at higher risk -- as are smokers, the obese and heavy drinkers.

Hansen says that if caught early, colorectal cancer is very treatable.

WTOP's Debra Feinstein contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)