(The Villages, FL) Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives. Central Florida Health, the parent organization of The Villages® Regional Hospital, has made the pledge to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates by supporting the 80% by 2018 initiative, led by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (an organization co-founded by ACS and CDC).
Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths; however it is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Through proper colorectal cancer screening, doctors can find and remove hidden growths (called “polyps”) in the colon, before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether.
“80% by 2018” is a National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) initiative in which over five hundred organizations have committed to substantially reducing colorectal cancer as a major public health problem and we are working toward the shared goal of 80% of adults aged 50 and older being regularly screening for colorectal cancer by 2018. Leading public health organizations such as ACS, CDC and the NCCRT are rallying organizations to embrace this shared goal.
“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem, and adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it, but we have found that many people aren’t getting tested because they don’t believe they are at risk, don’t understand that there are testing options or don’t think they can afford it,” said Elizabeth Jernigan, Cancer Program Director at Central Florida Health. “The truth is that the vast majority of cases of colorectal cancer occur in people age 50 and older. Colorectal cancer in its early stages has no symptoms, so everyone 50 and older should get tested. There are several screening options – even take home options – available. Plus, many public and private insurance plans cover the screening.”
While colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped 30 percent in the U.S. over the last 10 years among adults 50 and older, it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., despite being highly preventable, detectable and treatable. In fact, in 2015 in the U.S., 132,700 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed.
“We are thrilled to join the cause to improve colorectal cancer screening rates,” said Jernigan. “We are asking all members of our community to come together and help us by getting screened and talking to your friends and family about getting screened. Together, we can help eliminate colorectal cancer as a major public health problem.”