Tomorrow Can't Wait for a World Free of Colon Cancer

19:00 EST 28 Feb 2017 | Globe Newswire

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month and national non-profit the Colon Cancer Alliance with presenting sponsor Exact Science are on a mission to end the social stigma about the preventable disease that is one of the top three cancer killers in the country.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. On average, the lifetime risk of developing cancer is about one in 20. In 2016, approx 130,000 Americans were diagnosed with colon cancer with over one third dying from the disease. In its early stages, colon cancer is highly treatable, with a five-year survival rate of 90%, making it a stoppable and preventable disease through early detection.

The Colon Cancer Alliance is focusing this March on educating and raising awareness about the expanded and affordable screening options available. Many individuals are not aware of the expanded screening test available to them with the perception that the colonoscopy is the only screening option. Indeed the colonoscopy is still the gold standard but there are many reasons that individuals across the United States are looking for alternative screening methods including fear, costs, the prep, and more. In addition to the colonoscopy, there are several screening methods available, including in home testing:

In Home Test Options:
Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) - detects small amount of blood in a stool sample
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) - detects small amounts of blood through a stool sample and requires a special diet the day before
sDNA (Cologuard) - finds DNA in a stool sample which may indicate precancerous or cancerous cells are present - also can detect blood

Doctor Test Options:
Colonoscopy - examines entire colon – if found, doctors can remove growths during the procedure
Virtual Colonoscopy - Uses x-rays and computers to take 2- or 3-D images of your colon and rectum
CT Colonography - images of the entire colon are taken and if growths are present, a colonoscopy will be required to remove
Sigmoidoscopy - examines only the lower portion of the colon, allows doctors to remove growths during procedure

"It is very inspiring to see all of the innovation and advancements in colon cancer screening options over the past few years," said Michael Sapienza, CEO of Colon Cancer Alliance."We at the Colon Cancer Alliance are excited to help amplify this message. Screening saves lives; if my mom would of had her screening when she turned 50 she would still be alive today."

The latest colon cancer statistics and facts:
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans are not screened for colorectal cancer
1.2 million are currently living with the disease
132,000 are newly diagnosed each year

Races/Genders see higher incidence rates:

In the United States, according to the 2014 national data from the American Cancer Society - 17,950 African American men are diagnosed and 16,250 women are diagnosed with colon cancer per year. African American men are screened 25% less than Caucasian men, and African American women are screened 50% less than Caucasian women.

Hispanic & Asian American saw an increase of incident rates by X according to the American Cancer Society

Incidence of colorectal cancer in individuals age 49 and under have increased on average by about 3% every year over the last decade.

While rates for colon cancer in adults 50 and older have been declining due to improved screening rates, incidence rates in adults younger than 50 years have been increasing with causes unknown.

The Colon Cancer Alliance's mission is to knock colon cancer out of the top three cancer killers and are doing this by championing prevention, funding cutting-edge research and providing the highest quality patient support services. The nonprofit is hosting several events and initiatives during the March awareness month:

National Dress in Blue Day (March 3) - The Colon Cancer Alliance first launched the National Dress in Blue Day program in 2009 to bring national attention to colon cancer and to celebrate the courage of those affected by this disease. Today, individuals, businesses and community groups across the country participate in National Dress in Blue Day by wearing blue and encouraging others to do the same.

Undy Run/Walk & Scope It Out 5K - Throughout the year, the organization hosts 25 fundraising Run/Walk events in major cities throughout the United States, with the largest race in the series taking place in the Nation's Capital in March.

Scopefest - A Movement To Save Lives - The Colon Cancer Alliance partnered with the creators of the Scopefest - a unique way to get family, friends and loved ones screened through coordinated "scope parties and fundraisers" in major cities across the U.S. City teams in key locations such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Las Vegas, compete for most funds raised and the largest groups assembled to host group colonoscopy parties. The purpose is to use humor and camaraderie and good old fashioned peer pressure, to drastically reduce a preventable cases through early detection. After the team has completed their Scopefest at a qualified GI surgical center, teammates host a post-scope after party to celebrate being proactive in getting screened.

Colon Cancer Awareness Month is presented by Scopefest and Bravelets.

Colon Cancer Alliance March Awareness video:

About Colon Cancer Alliance

The Colon Cancer Alliance is a national nonprofit committed to ending colon cancer within our lifetime. Working with our nation of passionate advocates, we are empowered to support the needs of patients and survivors, eager to raise awareness of preventative screening, and poised to help fund critical research. We are fiercely determined to end colon cancer once and for all.

About Dress In Blue Day

Dress in Blue Day began with Anita Mitchell. Ms. Mitchell was battling stage IV colon cancer and had lost a close friend and father to the disease. She saw a need to bring greater awareness to a cancer not many people wanted to discuss. Ms. Mitchell is a founder of Colon Cancer STARS and a volunteer for the Colon Cancer Alliance. She brought the Dress in Blue concept to the Colon Cancer Alliance in 2009. The Colon Cancer Alliance expanded this concept into Dress in Blue Day, a national celebratory day to raise awareness of colon cancer, specifically highlighting the spirit and courage of survivors and their families, and honoring the memory of those lost to the disease.

CONTACT: Maurisa Turner Potts
         Spotted MP (Marketing + Public Relations)
         703.501.6289 (cell)   

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