There is no better time to focus on colon cancer prevention than March, Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. One in every 20 Americans will develop colon cancer, so it is likely that colon cancer will affect you or someone you love.
Studies show that one out of three American adults who is eligible for colon cancer screening is not up-to-date on preventative screenings. Through the 80% by 2018 initiative, more than 1,500 organizations — including medical professional societies, academic centers, survivor groups, government agencies, cancer coalitions, cancer centers and many others — have committed to the shared goal of 80% of adults aged 50 and older being regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.
Created by the National Colon Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT), 80% by 2018 has been a source of motivation among medical providers, communities and families. It reminds us that, even though screening rates are increasing, we are still not where we need to be.
Researchers have identified a disparity in colon cancer screening rates among racial and ethnic minorities, those with disabilities and individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. Whether it is poverty, lack of transportation, or inadequate medical coverage, these men and women need our support and advocacy.
As long as there are still barriers to colon cancer screening, our work isn’t done. We believe that we can all work together to get everyone screened for colon cancer at the appropriate time. Most men and women who are at average risk for colon cancer should get their first colonoscopy at age 50, but African Americans should be screened at age 45. Those who are at elevated risk for colon cancer or who have a family history of colon cancer should also be screened earlier.
The NCCRT’s new vision for the future of colon cancer prevention reaches far beyond 2018. It is called the “80% Pledge.” The goal is still the same: to work toward 80% screening rates. But the 80% Pledge invites new partnerships and voices in this ongoing project. As we graft more organizations, medical professionals and individuals into the 80% Pledge, we will learn more about barriers to colon screening and will become better equipped to meet those challenges.
Help us spread the word about the 80% Pledge. You can do this by:
Thank you for your support of the 80% Pledge! If you need help finding a board-certified gastroenterologist in your area, call 877-706-SCCN (7226) or click here to find a screening center.