696,400 North Carolinians Need Colon Cancer Screenings to Reach Goal

696,400 North Carolinians Need Colon Cancer Screenings to Reach

American Cancer Society’s “80% by 2018” Goal to Save Lives:

The North Carolina Colorectal Roundtable encouraging organizations to take the pledge, and poised to reach urban and rural county residents

Almost all colon cancer begins as a polyp that can be caught early and removed through screening colonoscopy and polypectomy. Nationwide, more than 1 in 3 adults aged 50 and older are not being screened as recommended beginning at age 50. Many people think colonoscopy is the only option—it’s not! Consult a doctor about other options, such as stool tests. The goal of the 80% by 2018 campaign of the American Cancer Society and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) is to have 80% of age eligible people screened by the end of 2018 in the US. If this is achieved, 277,000 cases and 203,000 colorectal cancer deaths would be prevented by 2030.

In North Carolina, the percentage of the population up to date with colorectal cancer screening is 68.4%, leaving 696,400 North Carolinians age 50+ in need of screening to reach 80% by 2018. Screening can prevent colon cancer or find it early when treatment is more likely to be successful. ​ In 2016, an estimated new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in North Carolina, and 95,270 new cases will be diagnosed in the US.

Novant Health in Charlotte was among the first the sign the 80% by 2018 pledge. “When patients express concern over getting a colonoscopy, I try to redirect them and indicate how painful and uncomfortable it would be to have surgery and chemotherapy for an advanced colorectal cancer that could have been prevented,” said Doug Rosen, MD, Novant Health Charlotte Colon & Rectal Surgery. “It’s really not as bad as they think.

Priority Populations are targeted for screenings in order to achieve the 80% by 2018 goal:

  • Newly Insured (largely in part to the Affordable Care Act)
  • Financially Challenged
  • Insured Procrastinators/Rationalizers
  • African Americans
  • Hispanics
  • The “Unworried Well” –a term coined by American Cancer Society Chief Cancer Control Officer Dr. Richard Wender. This is a segment of the population who have insurance and resources, but have not gotten screened. 70% of people between the ages of 50 and 65 who have not been screened have insurance, and 75% of them have a primary care physician. They are not necessarily newly insured.

WHAT: The North Carolina Colorectal Roundtable is a new statewide multi-organizational collaborative comprised of diverse organizations working towards the common goal of improving colorectal cancer outcomes in North Carolina.  Created in 2015, the group will develop strategic blueprints and organized approaches to reach “80% by 2018” in North Carolina. Modeled after the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT), the group will serve as the logistical vehicle to improve colorectal cancer outcomes through collaborative projects and leadership. One such goal is encouraging hospitals, local government, public healthcare groups and others in the state to sign the “80 by 2018” pledge which is a public commitment to work together for the common good of saving lives to colorectal cancer deaths

Anna Jones, American Cancer Society health systems manager for state-based health organizations, sits on the NC Colorectal Roundtable, and says, “The American Cancer Society is moving forward diligently on the 80% by 2018 initiative, and has partnered with NC Cancer Prevention and Control Branch and Dr. Marcus Plescia, head of the Mecklenburg County Health Department to establish the state roundtable. Jones continued, “We are fortunate to have so many committed and influential partners who have pledged to work collectively across the state to reduce the burden of colorectal cancer in NC.”

Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer for men and women in the US, expected to kill approximately 49,190 people in 2016, including 4,586 projected new cases in North Carolinians. Beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should be screened. People with a family history of the disease should talk to their doctor about getting screened earlier.

For more information or to find the nearest screening options, go to www.cancer.org/colon or call 1-800-227-2345.