Welcome to 2016, and NCCRT’s new blog!
Happy new year, everyone! As the chair of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT), I’m excited to welcome you to the NCCRT’s new 80% by 2018 blog. The start of the new year is always a great time to reflect on our hopes and dreams for the coming year, and we share a big one. If we’re going to achieve 80% of adults over 50 years of age regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018, we’re going to need to do more to share best practices, tools and resources, and highlight successes to fuel our work. That’s what this blog is all about. Here you will find interviews with leaders in the field, profiles of innovative and successful initiatives, new tools and resources, and commentary on new research and emerging issues.
Thanks in part to the work of many of these leaders we intend to feature, colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates have dropped by over 30% in the U.S. among adults 50 and older in the last fifteen years, with a substantial fraction of these declines due to screening. This is a major public health success story unfolding before our eyes. Yet, despite the good news, colorectal cancer remains the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. when men and women are combined. To reach our 80% goal, we must reach the 23 million Americans between the ages of 50 and 75 who are not being regularly screened.
The central challenge to our reaching the 80% goal is that those who are still unscreened will be the most difficult to reach. We now need a strong coordinated push to substantially reduce colorectal cancer screening as a major public health problem, to make sure that all Americans are benefitting equally from life-saving technology, and to sustain the progress we make.
Achieving the 80% by 2018 goal will be very difficult, but our work over decades has led us to this moment. We have the plan, the tools and the will to reach this goal. We have an ambitious strategic plan that focuses on moving consumers to action, promoting practice improvement and systems change, bringing down policy barriers and defining accountability. Over 550 organizations – including medical professional societies, academic centers, survivor groups, government agencies, cancer coalitions, cancer centers, payers and many others – have signed a pledge to make this goal a priority. And we are beginning to see progress. We recently conducted an 80% by 2018 partner survey and 72% of respondents engaging in colorectal cancer activities said they launched, expanded or intensified their activities after getting involved in the 80% by 2018 effort. Another 52% are planning additional colorectal cancer activities as a part of their effort to get to 80%. We will be highlighting more of these successes in this blog.
As a first step in celebrating and sharing success, I want to encourage you to get your nominations in for the 2016 80% by 2018 National Achievement Awards, a competitive recognition program that seeks to highlight success stories by recognizing individuals and organizations who are dedicating their time, talent and expertise to advancing needed initiatives that support the shared goal to regularly screen 80% of adults 50 and over by 2018.
Winners (and there are prizes!) will be announced in early March and we’ll profile the awardees’ exemplary work on this blog. Winners will also be profiled during a special 80% by 2018 webcast on March 8th at 2:00pm EST – so save the date! You have just over a week left to submit your nominations before the deadline on January 15, 2016. Visit our 80% by 2018 National Achievement Awards webpage to learn more and submit your nomination (or self-nomination) today.
Finally, one of the great features of the blog format is that it offers a two-way street for communication. We want to hear from you. What do you want to learn about to support your work in 2016? What leader would you like to hear from? I encourage you to share your comments and suggestions.
Thank you for all that you are doing to achieve 80% by 2018, and best wishes for a happy, healthy and productive 2016!
Richard C. Wender, MD
Chief Cancer Control Officer, American Cancer Society, Inc.