WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the United States.

The disease took the life of actress Kirstie Alley, 71, who was recently diagnosed, according to family members.

DC News Now spoke with Dr. Ada Graham who is a colorectal surgeon at John Hopkins Medicine, and Dr. Joseph J. Jennings who is a gastroenterologist at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, about the silent illness.  Both say early detection is key to catching cancerous tumors.