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Photo by: Justin Higuchi (CC-BY-2.0)

Taylor Dayne is sharing her story in an effort to raise awareness around lifesaving colon cancer screenings. The ’80s pop star recently revealed that she was diagnosed with the disease back in July. A Grammy nominated singer, Dayne told “Good Morning America” that she undergoes a routine colonoscopy twice a year.

“All I could do is think, ‘OK, five months ago, I know there was nothing,” Dayne said. “So this is early detection.”

The 60-year-old “Tell It to My Heart” singer said her doctors assured her that the disease was caught early, increasing her chances for a positive outcome.

“If a patient is screened appropriately, early detection and treatment drastically improves outcomes,” said Dr. Mark Friedman of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. “Colon cancer can affect all genders and races, and people should talk to their health care providers about when they should start screening.”

In addition to identifying cancers, a colonoscopy can detect precancerous lesions that may grow into cancer in the future. It is also the preferred test for anyone who has gastrointestinal symptoms or is considered at increased risk for colon cancer.

Dr. Mark Friedman, Gastrointestinal Oncology Program

“A polyp is a small growth of tissue on the inner lining of the large intestine wall,” Friedman said. “Tubular adenomas are the most common type of these polyps and can progress to cancer if not removed in a timely manner.”

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 53,000 people will die of colorectal cancer this year. The data show that for Americans ages 45 to 49, there are about 7,000 new colorectal cancer cases per year and about 1,800 deaths. This group accounts for about half of colorectal cancer diagnoses occurring under the previous recommended age of 50 to begin screening.

After considering recent trends of increasing cases of colon cancer in younger people, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that people of average risk start colorectal cancer screenings at age 45.

People of average risk include those with no prior diagnosis of colorectal cancer, no family history or genetic disorders that increase your risk of disease, no history of precancerous polyps and no diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease.

Weeks after her diagnosis, Dayne underwent surgery to remove 10 inches of her colon. Following the procedure, she was declared cancer free.

“When you’re really sick, you don’t have the energy, you’re really relying on your champions around you, your soldiers, your people,” Dayne said. “Find the doctor that will tell you the truth. Be a warrior for yourself.”