Colorectal cancer is one of the most common and deadly cancers in the United States, but with regular screening, this disease is Preventable, Treatable, Beatable®. The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable launched a nationwide colorectal cancer initiative, 80% by 2018, to increase screening rates to 80 percent of adults ages 50 or older by 2018. The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is working to advance this goal, and in recognition of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we’re highlighting three recent community grantees who are working to increase colon cancer education and reach 80 percent screening rates in their communities.
Public housing residents train as health advocates in New York
The Upstate Foundation has trained four Syracuse public housing residents to deliver culturally-sensitive colorectal cancer outreach, education and screening. These health advocates provide one-on-one education to residents, and have so far reached more than 700 people through tabling events and newsletters.
Director Linda Viet says, “Funding from the Prevent Cancer Foundation has allowed us to provide necessary colon cancer education to a community of people who may otherwise not hear, or, more importantly, understand why colon cancer screening is important. They are hearing this message from their trusted peers, who carry a great deal of cultural credibility in their communities. This unique public health partnership will positively impact colon cancer screening rates in the community.”
Engaging employees and low-income patients in Colorado Springs
Penrose Cancer Center is also spreading the message of colorectal cancer screening through its Colorectal Screening Initiative. The program aims to reduce colon cancer by providing education and access to screening to their community partners and patients at their indigent care clinic, along with providing peer-to-peer training to their employees.
Program Director Teresa Labovich, MSN, BSN, RN, writes, “Funding from this grant provides free FIT kits for screening and funding for several colonoscopies for indigent patients who have a positive screening test, are symptomatic, or considered high risk.” So far, the program has distributed 60 FIT kits.
80% within reach for a Chicago grantee
Through coordinated care and systems change at one of their partner clinics, Esperanza Health Centers works to increase colon cancer screening and awareness among underserved and underinsured Latinos on the southwest side of Chicago. In the year that the Prevent Cancer Foundation funded this project, their screening increased from 48 percent to 53 percent. We received this update from the Program Director Carmen Vergara, BSN, MPH:
“We implemented a number of strategies to get our number up (currently 69 percent), and we are working toward a new goal of 75 percent for this year (CY 2017). If we achieve 75 percent this year, we’ll be very close to 80% by 2018. We’re very excited about this possibility.”
If you’re age 50 or older, join the 80% by 2018 campaign and talk to your health care professional about colorectal screening this month. To learn more about colorectal cancer prevention and screening visit preventcancer.org/colorectal. With your support, we can Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®