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MADISON – Wisconsin is taking part in a national campaign by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) to focus efforts over the next four years on dramatically increasing the colorectal cancer screening rates and awareness of the potential for early detection and prevention. NCCRT was co-founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 50 organizations have already pledged to embrace the shared goal of increasing national colorectal cancer screening rates to 80 percent by 2018.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Wisconsin.
“Eighty percent by 2018” aims to increase colorectal cancer screening in the U.S. from 65 percent in 2010 to 80 percent in 2018. In Wisconsin, the screening rate is 72 percent. Massachusetts has the highest screening rate of 76 percent.
“Getting screened for colorectal cancer is a lot easier and more cost effective than being treated for colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Noelle Loconte from the Wisconsin Comprehensive Control Program at the UW Carbone Cancer Center.
“Eighty percent by 2018” was launched today by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable which was co-founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Current guidelines recommend screening annually or every 5 to 10 years, depending on the screening method, starting at the age of 50. Individuals who have a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors should talk with their health care provider and begin screening before age 50. Other risk factors include a diet high in red or processed meat, being sedentary, obesity, long-term smoking, alcohol consumption and low intake of fruits and vegetables.
Loconte said early stage colorectal cancer may not have symptoms, so screening may be the only way to catch it in early stages. Survival from colorectal cancer is more than 90 percent when diagnosed at the earliest stage.
“There are many ways to be screened for colorectal cancer,” said Loconte. “Talk to your health care team about your options.”
UW Health is recognizing National Colon Cancer Awareness Month by educating people about the importance of colon health. Study the five reasons a healthy colon is important at www.uwhealth.org/heartyourcolon.