Ten years ago, the Prevent Cancer Foundation recognized a need to raise awareness, attention and funding for colorectal cancer. Our first step was to pass a resolution officially designating the month in the US Senate, US House and White House, declaring March 2000 as the first National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (NCCAM).
The Foundation and our partners launched the first awareness month for colorectal cancer that year, with a major public awareness campaign. Survivors and doctors across the country joined in helping to spread the message that colorectal cancer can be Preventable, Treatable and Beatable.
A centerpiece of the first colorectal cancer awareness month was a major research conference. Since then, this conference has grown. Our National Dialogue for Action conference series has become an anticipated part of March each year, and has been replicated in 17 states and 10 American Indian/Alaska Native teams across the country.
Another visible symbol of colorectal awareness is our Super Colon. This giant, walk through replica of the human colon is a visual tool in learning about the disease. The colon has visited hundreds of cities across the United States and even internationally. It has made people laugh, but has also motivated them and encouraged them to talk to their health care providers about screening and prevention.
Since March 2000, the platform we created has evolved. More organizations have joined in the effort. Medicare now covers screening colonoscopy for men and women aged 65 and older. Access has improved. The embarrassment and stigma associated with talking about the disease are declining.
But most importantly, mortality from colorectal cancer is decreasing. Lives are being saved. We hope that you will join us to continue to make an even greater impact, and learn more about colorectal cancer prevention at PreventCancer.org.