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Stars Come Out to Join Live Broadcast Supporting Nationwide Push to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening by 2018

Published on 27 February 2017 back to previous

Katie Couric, actor Luke Perry, country music artist Craig Campbell and professional race car driver Scott Lagasse, Jr. are coming together on March 1 to promote screening for colon and rectal cancers. The celebrities will share their personal connections to the disease alongside survivors and medical professionals for the Countdown to 2018, an event being broadcast live from the Hard Rock Cafe Times Square on March 1 from 1-3 PM EST. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths when men and women are combined, but the disease can often be prevented or detected early through screening. Every March, organizations come together to raise awareness about prevention and screening.  

The Countdown to 2018 live broadcast is presented by Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC), the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT), an organization co-founded by the ACS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mayo Clinic, The Entertainment Industry Foundation's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance, Stand Up To Cancer and Exact Sciences have also collaborated to plan the event. It will highlight celebrity supporters' commitment to increasing screening and educate viewers on the importance of screening for colorectal cancer, supporting a shared goal to regularly screen 80% of adults age 50 or older for colorectal cancer by 2018. The NCCRT launched the 80% by 2018 campaign in 2014, and today more than 1,300 organizations across the country have pledged to support this public health goal.

Regular screening can prevent colorectal cancer or catch it early when it's most treatable. The ACS, the US Preventive Services Task Force, Fight CRC and other groups recommend that every adult at average risk of developing colorectal cancer begin regular screening at age 50; screening needs to start earlier for people at increased risk (which includes having a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps). People of all ages should talk to their family about colorectal cancer to rule out a family history of the disease, and talk with their doctor to determine if they have other risk factors. Anyone, regardless of age, should immediately contact their health care provider if any symptoms appear, such as blood in the stool or a persistent change in bowel habits.

"We wanted to kick off National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month with our partners to reinforce our shared national goal for screening and get some of our celebrity supporters together in one place," said Anjee Davis, president of Fight Colorectal Cancer. "We want to educate the public with information, inspire and acknowledge those working tirelessly to get others screened, and show the over one million survivors of colorectal cancer that their voices matter!"

During the event, six honorees receiving 80% by 2018 National Achievement Awards will also be recognized.

"We're thrilled to have this opportunity to publicly recognize some of the individuals and organizations that are truly making a difference in the fight against colorectal cancer," said Mary Doroshenk, director of the NCCRT. "The work of our 80% by 2018 partners, including our National Achievement Award winners, is invaluable. If we can reach a nationwide screening rate of 80% by 2018, we estimate that 277,000 cases and 203,000 colorectal cancer deaths would be prevented by 2030. But to do that, we all need to keep working together to get more adults screened."

In the next year, the colorectal cancer community hopes to see even more of the 23 million Americans who need to be screened for colorectal cancer undergo this potentially life-saving procedure.

There are many screening options. Dr. Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer for the American Cancer Society, explained: "There are many ways to screen for colorectal cancer, including simple take-home tests. We know these tests save lives, so the important thing is to get screened. Ultimately, the best test is the one you get. Talk to your doctor about which option is right for you."

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