NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s some good news about early detection of colorectal cancer.

More than 50,000 Americans died of that cancer last year. A number that could be far less if the cancer was found early.

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CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports that there are now home tests that could do just that.

Colo-rectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The best defense against that grim statistic is early detection with a colonoscopy, but very few like the prep work that entails. That’s why home screening tests have become popular and increasingly accurate.

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A new review shows at-home tests are effective for colorectal cancer screening in people with an average risk for the disease. The research looked at more than 30 studies on tests called FITs, which need to be done annually.

At-home screening test for colorectal cancer. (Credit: CBS2)

“There are different ways of getting screened. One of them is the colonoscopy and that is a great choice for a lot of people… For the people who don’t want the colonoscopy, know that there are alternatives. One of those alternatives is the FIT test and that is looking for invisible blood that is in the stool,” CBS News chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jon LaPook said.

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Currently, only 65 percent of people who should be getting screened for colorectal cancer are getting tested. Dr. LaPook is a gastroenterologist. He says the hope is access to less invasive and intimidating tests will increase screening rates.

“The main highlight here is that FIT seems to be a pretty good test for picking up colon cancer. It’s a less good test for picking up colon polyps, but it certainly beats doing nothing.”

With colon cancer increasing in younger people, the American Cancer Society has begun recommending average risk adults start screening at 45, not at 50.

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Patrice Brown with the Colon Cancer Alliance reminds people to look out for symptoms, to know your risk factors such as family history, and to just get screened.

“Our motto is the best test is the test that gets done regardless of method,” Brown said.

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Fortunately, colorectal cancer is one of the most curable types of cancer if detected early.