Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman are recognizing March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and they are partnering with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to encourage residents to have age-appropriate colorectal cancer screenings as directed by their healthcare providers.
“Colonoscopies are the best way to detect colorectal cancer early and can save lives,” Neuhaus said. “There are several screening options for early detection of colorectal cancer, including simple take-home tests. According to the American Cancer Society, a colonoscopy at age 50 can significantly lower the risk of advanced colorectal cancer and death.”
“Colorectal cancer awareness and screening is something we all must take seriously,” Dr. Gelman added. “Proper education and screening can save lives, and early detection can substantially improve your outcome when battling this disease.”
The American Cancer Society notes that the colorectal cancer death rate in the United States could be cut in half if Americans simply followed recommended screening guidelines. Almost 23 million Americans between 50 and 75 years old do not get tested for colorectal cancer as recommended. Colorectal cancer is most often found among people 50 years or older but can occur at any age.
The Orange County Cancer Screening Collaborative has pledged support to 80 percent in Every Community, a campaign to reach colorectal cancer screening rates of 80 percent and higher nationwide. In this commitment, the Collaborative has joined together with over 1,700 local and national organizations to work toward the shared goal of increasing colorectal cancer screening rates to 80 percent or higher.
This collaborative is a partnership between the Orange County Department of Health, American Cancer Society, Cornerstone Family Healthcare, Orange Regional Medical Center, Montefiore St. Luke’s Hospital, Bon Secours Community Hospital, St. Anthony Community Hospital, Planned Parenthood of the Hudson Valley, RECAP, Orange County Cancer Services, and Hudson River Healthcare. It aims to move the conversation from awareness to action by increasing breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening rates in Orange County.
Through regular screening, a person can prevent colorectal cancer or find it early when it is easier to treat. A colonoscopy is the most widely known screening, although it isn’t the only option. There are other simple, affordable options, including tests that can be done at home.
“When men and women are combined, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States,” says Connie Bordenga, MD, MS, a Health Systems Manager with the American Cancer Society. “Right now, you could have a polyp or a small growth in your colon or rectum. It may be harmless, but over time it could develop into cancer.”
While the recommendation is to begin screenings at age 45, people with a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors might need to start cancer screening before age 45, be screened more often, and/or get specific tests. To learn more about screening options, please call the American Cancer Society at 800.227.2345 or visit cancer.org/getscreened.
For more information on available screenings, or how to become involved in the cancer collaborative, please call the Orange County Department of Health at 845-360-6680.