March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and an opportunity to spread the message that regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons against colorectal cancer. The key takeaways for the month are:
- If you haven't been screened for colorectal cancer, or are overdue for your regular screening, don't wait. Talk to your doctor about the screening option that's right for you. No matter which test you choose, the most important thing is to get screened.
- It's important to get screened even if you don't have symptoms. Colorectal cancer might not cause symptoms right away. Many people with early stage colorectal cancer have it and don't know it.
- Talk to your friends and family (your community) about the importance of screening. It can save lives.
Join the "80% in Every Community" kickoff celebration on March 7
We will join forces with the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fight Colorectal Cancer, Mayo Clinic, Exact Sciences, and UPS to launch the next phase of the campaign to reach an 80% colorectal cancer screening rate nationwide.
The live event will be held at the ACS Center Theater at ACS Global Headquarters on Thursday, March 7, from 2-3 pm ET. Volunteers and staff are invited to register to attend the event in person or via the livestream. Doors will close a few minutes before the live show starts so attendees will need to be seated by 1:45 p.m.
New consumer research into the unscreened's knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs, conducted by ACS on behalf of NCCRT, shows that the unscreened are less likely to understand the importance of colorectal cancer screening or the range of testing options available. They also tend to procrastinate for a variety of reasons: fear of test or result, the ick factor of testing, lack of urgency, or financial reasons including insurance status. Message testing is underway.
Last year, we changed our colorectal cancer screening guideline to start at 45 for those at average risk instead of age 50. Talk to your doctor about your risk. Up to 30% of people with colorectal cancer have a family history of the disease which can increase risk, and those people should talk to their doctor about getting screened earlier.