March is colorectal cancer awareness month and as we begin this month, it is a perfect time to remind everyone that cancer is the leading cause of death in Monroe County and colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in Monroe County.
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer diagnosis, but it is the second leading cause of death due to cancer (behind lung cancer). On average each year, 370 Monroe County residents are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and about 140 die from it.
Deaths from colorectal cancer can be prevented through screening. When colorectal cancer is diagnosed early, at the localized stage, the five-year survival rate is 90%. In some cases colorectal cancer can be prevented when precancerous polyps are removed during colonoscopies. There are several different screening tests that can be used to find polyps or colorectal cancer. Each one can be used alone; sometimes they are used in combination. People should talk with their doctor about which test(s) is right for them and how often they should be tested. For those of average risk, screening tests usually begin at age 50. Screening tests that can detect cancer and polyps include a colonoscopy and the less invasive, FIT Test, which may indicate cancer.
It is so important to the war on cancer that we all do our part to help reduce the number of deaths caused by cancer. This is an exciting year for those of us who want to put cancer on the front burner. In his recent State of the Union Address, President Obama talked about “Moonshot” and the effort to try and find the answers to cancer. He stated, “For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the families that we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all. What do you think? Let’s make it happen.” And he shared that he has tasked Vice President Biden with leading this mission.
All of us, need to be aware that cancer is one of the leading causes of death and we can all help, in one way or another, to change this. We at Camp Good Days and through the efforts of Cancer Mission 2020, urge people to wear blue this month, in recognition of colorectal cancer awareness month, but to also focus on preventative measures such as physical activity, healthy eating habits, taking advantage of the various screening tests available, and talking to your physician about preventative actions.
Here at Camp Good Days, we continue to collect signatures on our Cancer Mission 2020 Petition, which supports clinical trials, as clinical trials are where the answers are going to come from. If you have not visited our Cancer Mission 2020 website, www.cancermission2020.org, I encourage you to do so, and to sign our petition, and then share it with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Join us, and join Vice President Biden, to let everyone know that we want finding the answers to cancer put on the front burner, so that we can all, as Americans, be rid of the fear of cancer and truly enjoy good days and special times!