NH Division of Public Health Joins Efforts to Raise Colon Cancer Awareness

Concord, NH – March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the purpose of which is to raise awareness about colon cancer and to encourage people to get tested. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the United States and the third most commonly diagnosed cancer. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) wants to encourage everyone 50 or older and those with a family history of colorectal cancer to get screened.

Unfortunately, nearly half of all Americans are not getting the recommended screenings that they need to prevent or detect the early stages of colorectal cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if everyone aged 50 or older were tested for colon cancer, as many as 60% of deaths from this cancer would be avoided. The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age, and more than 90% of cases occur in people age 50 or older.

“This year in New Hampshire, an estimated 720 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and over 200 of them will die from this disease,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “It is preventable so and we all need to take time from our busy lives for this life-saving screening.”

The DPHS Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and the New Hampshire Colorectal Cancer Screening Program are working with the New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration to increase the percentage of adults age 50 and older in New Hampshire who report being screened for colorectal cancer to 80% by 2014.

Friday, March 4th is designated National Dress in Blue Day, to utilize blue, the awareness color for colorectal cancer, to bring attention to the need for screening. To kick off this important month of awareness, Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth in Lebanon will conduct a Colorectal Screening Expo on Friday, March 4th from 11 am to 2 pm and hosted by New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) at their Broadcast Center in Concord. The Expo will give people the opportunity to talk with doctors and get a personalized analysis of their risk level for colon cancer. The public will be able to watch videos, pick up materials, and learn options for colorectal cancer screening and prevention.

The Colorectal Screening Expo is being presented in partnership with DPHS, the New Hampshire Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, the American Cancer Society, Concord Hospital, GI Associates of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration.

For more information on colorectal cancer and screening speak with your healthcare provider or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal