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Colorectal cancer preventable, with increased screening

Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives. The Clark and Champaign County Colorectal Cancer Coalition has pledged to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates by supporting the “80 percent by 2018” initiative, led by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (an organization co-founded by ACS and CDC).

Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths; however, it is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Through proper colorectal cancer screening, doctors can find and remove hidden growths (called “polyps”) in the colon, before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether.

The Clark and Champaign County Colorectal Coalition includes representatives from the Springfield Regional Cancer Center, Clark County Combined Health District, Rocking Horse Community Health Center, Springfield Regional Outpatient Center, Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital, American Cancer Society, local physicians and specialists, as well as other supportive community members. This coalition’s goal is to decrease the number of diagnosed cases of colorectal cancer in Clark and surrounding counties by educating the community on the importance of screening.

“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem, and adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it, but we have found that many people aren’t getting tested because they don’t believe they are at risk, don’t understand that there are testing options or don’t think they can afford it,” said Yamini Teegala, family physician and chief medical officer with Rocking Horse Community Health Center. “The truth is that the vast majority of cases of colorectal cancer occur in people age 50 and older. Colorectal cancer in its early stages usually has no symptoms, so everyone 50 and older should get tested. There are several screening options — even take-home options — available. Plus, many public and private insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening and there may be local resources available to help those that are uninsured.”

In August of 2016, the coalition came together to put on an educational event for the patients of Rocking Horse Center called “No Butts About It — A Community Event to Wipeout Colorectal Cancer.”

Representatives from the coalition came together to educate the community on their risk of acquiring colorectal cancer, how to get screened, and how to prevent cancer from reaching them or their family members.

One of the eye-catching attractions from the event was a giant inflatable, walk-through colon. Individuals walked through the attraction with a health care provider for a guided educational tour focusing on what a healthy colon looks like, how colon cancer develops, and how it can be prevented by completing a screening as recommended. A number of patients who attended the event were able to take home screening kits and several signed commitments to receive a screening colonoscopy in the year.

Part of the “80 percent by 2018” goal is to leverage the energy of multiple and diverse partners to empower communities, patients, providers to increase screening rates. This initiative consists of health care providers, health systems, communities, businesses, community health centers, government, non-profit organizations and patient advocacy groups who are committed to getting more people screened for colorectal cancer to prevent more cancers and save lives.

“We are thrilled to join the cause to improve colorectal cancer screening rates,” said Dr. Teegala “We are asking all members of our community to come together and help us by getting screened and by talking to your friends and family who are over 50 years of age about getting screened. Together, we can help to eliminate colorectal cancer as a major public health problem.”

For more information or to learn about resources in visit:

For more details or to reach a member of the Clark and Champaign County Colorectal Cancer Coalition, please contact one of the coalition’s co-chairs; Dr. Yamini Teegala at 937-324-1111 or Pilar Gonzalez-Mock at 937-323-3009.

Lisa Saunders is the quality assurance coordinator for the Rocking Horse Center.

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