Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month concludes with successes and a push to keep moving forward
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month came to a fruitful ending, as a result of all the hard work and planning that went into the month. NCCRT members know that the message to be screened for colorectal cancer screening needs to be shared throughout the year, but March is a special time of year for us.
Activities kicked off in February when NCCRT released 2016 updates to the 80% by 2018 Communications Guidebook, a resource designed to help educate unscreened audiences. NCCRT featured the updates in a February 9th webinar that also introduced the Hispanics/Latinos and Colorectal Cancer Companion Guide, which features new tested messages and materials in Spanish. The guidebook update was perhaps the most popular tool we’ve ever released with over 5,600 downloads just since February.
Activities kicked into high gear when the NCCRT announced the 2016 80% by 2018 National Achievement Award honorees on March 1st and featured their stories in the annual live broadcast on March 8th, 80% by 2018: The Road to Success. The broadcast marked the beginning of the third year of the 80% by 2018 effort, profiled the honorees’ success stories and otherwise highlighted the progress we’ve made in the past year. Additionally, many PSAs produced by NCCRT members and 80% by 2018 partners were featured throughout the hour.
As the month went on, the highlights rolled in. There are too many highlights to list, but here is a small sampling of highlights from March (and a few that are too good not to share from April!):
- The month opened with a Presidential Proclamation about March Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, Fight Colorectal Cancer ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ, and the Colon Cancer Alliance’s annual Dress in Blue Day on March 5th.
- Numerous wonderful new PSA videos were released by partners, including American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy’s new National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month video that includes a message to get screened in 12 different languages; the Colon Cancer Alliance’s new video about screening options and the Center for Colon Cancer Alliance’s series of videos on Life’s Greatest Moments.
- The Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation and Michael’s Mission hosted the 2nd annual Early Age Onset of Colorectal Cancer Summit on March 18th and 19th, in New York City. Congratulations to Dr. Thomas Weber and the rest of his team for pushing the conversation on this important issue.
- On March 24th, Delaware’s Governor Jack Markell became the second acting governor in the nation to sign the 80% by 2018 pledge to help ensure 80% of eligible Delaware residents are screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.
- NCCRT Steering Committee member, Dr. Mark Pochapin, joined Dr. Jon LaPook for a segment on CBS morning rounds on March 26th. (The colon cancer discussion starts at about 1:03).
- Rich Wender participated in the MediaplanetUSA Colon Health campaign in which he joined many other NCCRT members – Fight Colorectal Cancer, the American Gastroenterological Association, and American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons to name a few – in educating readers about colon cancer and encouraging them to take action when it comes to their personal health. The campaign was distributed through USA Today and was published online.
- On March 29th, 80% by 2018 Champion Katie Couric authored a blog in the American College of Gastroenterology’s American Journal of Gastroenterology.
- The NCCRT also partnered with the National Alliance for Hispanic Health to promote colorectal cancer screening with a joint English and Spanish Thunderclap on March 29th. The social media blasts reached over one million people.
- Numerous roundtables focused on colorectal cancer were hosted around the country, including California, Virginia, Arkansas, New York, Louisiana, Oregon and Washington State, continuing our momentum in the 80% by 2018 effort.
- A new Southeastern Colorectal Cancer Consortium launched in April with a well-attended symposium on April 20th through 22nd.
- The NCCRT tackled the pressing issue of colorectal cancer screening among American Indians and Alaska Natives by hosting a strategy meeting on the issue on April 25th in Traverse City, Michigan.
- Over 900 organizations have now signed onto the 80% by 2018 Pledge. The numbers grew quickly, with more than 50 pledges occurring in one week!
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the month is that our work is beginning to pay off in that we are continuing to hear about practices and systems that have seen their CRC screening rates increase. We know these changes don’t happen without a lot of hard work, but we are so grateful for these successes. The NCCRT congratulates everyone on their successes and encourages you all to keep up your amazing efforts.