Stand Up To Cancer: Katie Couric's Fight Against The Deadly Disease

September 7, 2012 Updated Sep 7, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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September 7, 2012 Updated Sep 7, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

WNY (WKBW/ABC) - ABC's Katie Couric is standing with celebrities, recording artists and other A-listers for a cancer telethon.

These big names are drawing attention to a disease that will claim more than 500,000 lives this year. A disease that claimed the life of Couric's husband, Jay Monahan. He died in 1998 of colon cancer.

Dr. W. Sam Yi of CCS Oncology in Western New York says new therapies have helped lower the death rate for colon cancer patients, and screenings, like colonoscopies, are helping people beat back the deadly disease.

Dr. Yi says through colonoscopy, benign polyps can be removed before they turn cancerous.

Doctors recommend a colonoscopy at age 50, sooner if there's a family history of colon cancer.

To show how simple and painless the procedure can be, Couric had one on live TV, as host of the Today show.