The Prevent Cancer Super Colon® was on the road this summer to share information about colorectal cancer prevention and early detection with underserved communities. As part of the effort to reach a national goal of getting 80 percent of the recommended population screened for colorectal cancer by 2018, the Super Colon headed to Phoenix for the annual UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza) conference and to Wise, Virginia for the Remote Area Medical event.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among Latino men and women in the U.S., yet Latinos are less likely to get screened for colon cancer than Caucasians or African-Americans. With an estimated 20,000 affiliate partners and Latino families, the UnidosUS conference was an ideal setting to drive home the importance of colorectal cancer screening. For many exploring the Super Colon exhibit, it was the first time they had heard of a colonoscopy or any of the colorectal cancer screening tests available.
This interactive exhibit is a great way to attract families. Kids love walking through the colon and it is a great opportunity to talk to parents who are approaching age 50, which is the recommended age to start screening for those at average risk.
Remote Area Medical event
Remote Area Medical (RAM) sets up a massive three-day health clinic every year in Appalachia to service this isolated and impoverished area. Thousands of people sleep in cars after driving for hours from surrounding states, then wait in long lines all day in order to access health care. Geographic barriers and a lack of insurance make it difficult for this population to get to the doctor. For most, it is their only opportunity for medical care all year.
Healthy behaviors and regular doctor visits and screenings are key to reducing your cancer risk or detecting cancer early. The lack of access to regular care and education has led to stark cancer disparities in this region. People in rural Appalachia are more likely to die within three to five years of a cancer diagnosis than those in both urban Appalachia and urban areas across the U.S. The Foundation was eager to return to Wise this year to support this event providing basic care and education to thousands of medically underserved Americans.
We brought the Super Colon to provide critical health information on cancer prevention and early detection. Hundreds of patients and volunteers stopped by in between medical appointments to learn about colorectal cancer prevention and screening, including some folks we met last year. It was great to reconnect and answer their questions about screening options for colorectal cancer, as well as for cervical, prostate, breast and testicular cancers. We also encouraged everyone to find out about their family history and other risk factors.
The event attracted the attention of national newspapers and a visit from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and Senator Tim Kaine came to volunteer their time as well.
As 2018 rapidly approaches, we look forward to sharing more about upcoming Super Colon stops to help reach the goal of 80 percent screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.