Progress is being made in the fight against colon cancer, but Kim Shank from CHI Memorial Hospital says there is still work to be done.

Kim Shank, a colorectal nurse navigator, says, "The current screening rates, according to the American Cancer Society for the state of Tennessee, were about 64%."

Those screenings can save your life.

While rates of colon cancer in the United States have gone down overall in recent years, the numbers are increasing among those under 50.

Kim tells us one theory behind this trend. Shank says, "A lot of it may be linked to our diet, our lifestyle, higher fat, more processed food, less fresh fruits and veggies, inactivity, and obesity."

While every person over 50 is at average risk for colon cancer, there are some other risk factors to take into consideration in addition to your diet. They include: a family or personal history of colon cancer, history of colon polyps and smoking.

Shank says, "When we catch it early, stage one or so, the treatment is very effective, very curable. As it spreads to other areas, it becomes difficult to treat."

That is why Kim says getting a colonoscopy is so important.

It can save your life.