March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Virginia Warren, MPH is Cancer Control Office Chief for the Arizona Department of Health Services and Emily Wozniak, MPH is the Operations Manager for the Cancer Prevention and Control Office.  Their team has been recognized for its tireless work for the underserved, including Warren receiving the 2014 Carol Friedman Award for Extraordinary Leadership and Exemplary Mentorship in Comprehensive Cancer Control during the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Annual Meeting. . Below is a guest blog they graciously wrote for us to focus attention on colon cancer awareness month.

This March, make it a priority to know the facts surrounding the status of colorectal cancer. Not enough Arizonans are up-to-date on their screenings, and too many are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer at late stages.

According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about one in 20.

In the U.S. and in Arizona, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Across men and women, all age groups, races, and ethnicities, about half of all colorectal cancer diagnoses in Arizona are late-stage, which are more difficult to treat.

Despite these realities, this is an exciting time for colorectal health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Cancer Society, National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, and Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) have kicked off the “80% by 2018” initiative to prioritize colorectal cancer screenings nationwide.

Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is joining forces with local partners including the American Cancer Society, Colon Cancer Alliance, and the Arizona Alliance for Community Centers, to reach a shared goal of getting 80 percent of age-eligible adults screened for colorectal cancer by the year 2018. The 80% by 2018 movement is a huge way to celebrate National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, but the most important thing you can do this month is to talk to your doctor about getting screened if you are over the age of 50.

For more information and to get involved, contact Virginia Warren, Cancer Control Office Chief, or Emily Wozniak, HealthCheck Programs Operations Manager, within the Bureau of Health Systems Development at ADHS.

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