Among U.S. men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. Nearly 135,000 adults are diagnosed each year.
That’s why the American Cancer Society started a new initiative called “80 by 18,” which aims to have 80 percent of adults age 50 and older screened for colorectal cancer by 2018. The gold standard for screening is colonoscopy, which can detect the cancer at an early stage and can also prevent it entirely by removing precancerous polyps.
As of right now, about 1 in 3 adults between the ages of 50 and 75 — roughly 23 million Americans — are not getting tested. In the state of New York, 69.3 percent have been screened, leaving more than 1.3 million individuals to go to reach the goal. Doctors urge patients to go in for their screenings, and remind them that while colonoscopies may sound uncomfortable, they really aren’t as bad as they may seem.
“UHS diagnoses more cancer cases than any organization in our region, so we feel a tremendous obligation to work with our community to reach this ambitious goal,” says Christina Boyd, UHS VP of Community Relations. “It is proven to save lives.”
According to the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, if the 80 percent goal is reached by 2018, more than 200,000 colorectal cancer deaths would be prevented by 2030.
If you are age 50 or older, talk to your doctor about colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are available at all four UHS hospitals.