ST. CLOUD -- Doctors are reminding everyone that March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women in the U.S.

Of the 140,000 Americans diagnosed, more than 50,000 die each year. Almost all colon cancers begin as noncancerous growths in the large intestine called polyps. By removing the polyps, the cancer risk is greatly reduced.

Dr. Scot Hutton of CentraCare Digestive Center, says the cancer is very preventable.

Hutton says early detection is key.

Doctors recommend men and women at average risk be screened beginning at age 50. Those with a family history should be screened at age 40 or 10 years earlier than the youngest diagnosis in the family.

Eating a healthy diet that's high in fiber and low in fat can also reduce the risk for colon cancer. Additional risk factors include a history of colitis, Crohn's or other related diseases.