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NCI’s CRCHD Launches National Colorectal Cancer Outreach and Screening Initiative

November 22, 2016, by CRCHD staff

Screen to Save NCI Colorectal Cancer Outreach & Screening Initiative

Increasing colorectal screening rates in the U.S. is part of the 10 recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Panel for the Cancer Moonshot, announced in October 2016 and endorsed by the National Cancer Advisory Board. In response to these recommendations, the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) is pleased to announce the launch of the National “Screen to Save” (S2S) Colorectal Cancer Outreach and Screening Initiative. This innovative initiative aims to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among racially and ethnically diverse and rural communities.

Working through the NCI-supported National Outreach Network, community health educators will provide culturally-tailored, evidence-based colorectal cancer information, education, and screening resources within racially and ethnically diverse and rural communities nationwide.

The Blue Ribbon Panel for the Cancer Moonshot considered colorectal cancer screening to be a national priority that should be fast tracked by the cancer research and care communities, citing it as a proven prevention strategy to reduce colorectal cancer incidence and mortality that is still being adopted by too few people, especially racially and ethnically diverse groups.

“Similar to other cancers, colorectal cancer is more common and fatal in the populations that we serve,” said Dr. Sanya A. Springfield, Director, CRCHD. “Colorectal cancer screening can help find polyps (abnormal growths) early so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Studies show that screening for colorectal cancer can reduce the number of deaths from this disease.”

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that individuals begin screening for colorectal cancer at the age of 50 and continue through age 75.

As part of Screen to Save, more than 60 community health educators will work in partnership with community-based organizations, institutions serving underrepresented populations (ISUPs), and other clinical and academic partners to deliver NCI-approved colorectal cancer screening information and conduct culturally-tailored outreach within their communities.

In collaboration with the Comprehensive Cancer Control National Partnership, the community health educators and Partnership members are identifying evidence-based resources for use within local communities as part of colorectal cancer screening and follow-up care after screening. Focused on reducing structural and economic barriers to colorectal cancer screening, these resources will be a key component of the initiative.

“Building connections between our community health educators, their affiliated NCI-designated Cancer Centers, and community partners within their communities, we will reach the people who need to be screened most,” said Dr. Springfield.

Quarterly community education and outreach activities, such as health fairs, festivals, community health expos, and group presentations, will be conducted around the country. In addition, engagement in social media and outreach events will take place in celebration of Colorectal Cancer Awareness month in March 2017.

Use of an inflatable colon – one example of an evidence-based educational tool – will enable individuals to visualize a healthy colon, as well as interact with models of various stages of colon cancer. Outreach activities such as these will be used to increase awareness, knowledge, and colorectal cancer screening behaviors among racially and ethnically diverse groups.

Throughout the initiative, detailed assessments will be conducted to monitor progress. An overall assessment will be undertaken to measure the effects of the outreach efforts among racially and ethnically diverse and rural communities.

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