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Churches, Barber Shops Raise Awareness of Colorectal Cancer

by Karin Gaffney Christensen
Fri, Mar 4th 2016 10:00 am

The Cancer Services Program of Monroe County, part of the University of Rochester Medical Center's Center for Community Health, is on a mission in March to make the community healthier. In recognition of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, it is partnering with Rochester-area church congregations, local barber shops and a large group of supportive community partners to spread the word that cancer screening and early detection saves lives.

Immaculate Conception Church in Cornhill will graciously host a kick-off event at 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 4. Included in the program will be:

  • The Rev. James E McEwen from Trinity Interfaith Church, who will share his personal experience related to colon cancer and how it affects his community;
  • Candice Lucas, director of Community Health Services at the URMC Center for Community Health and director of the Cancer Services Program of Monroe County, who will discuss the life-saving screenings available to all community members and launch the Rochester-based "Churches Go Blue" and "Barbershops Go Blue" initiatives;
  • Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, who will deliver a joint proclamation recognizing Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
  • Also attending will be partners from the American Cancer Society, Camp Good Days and Special Times, Cancer Mission 2020, Immaculate Conception /St. Bridget's Church Pastoral Council, and Rochester Colon Rectal Surgeons.

March 4 also is National Dress in Blue Day, an annual observance that encourages individuals to wear blue as a way to support awareness efforts.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the U.S. It is estimated that one in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. Each year in New York state, more than 10,000 people develop cancer of the colon and rectum, and nearly 3,600 New Yorkers die from this disease. In Monroe County, 350 residents are diagnosed with colon cancer each year, and about 126 die from this preventable disease.

"Early detection is perhaps the most important weapon in the fight against colon cancer," said Candice A. Lucas, director of Community Health Services at the URMC Center for Community Health and director of the Cancer Services Program of Monroe County. "Regular screenings are especially important for the early detection of colorectal cancer, which is preventable, treatable and beatable when caught early through screening."

The Cancer Services Program of Monroe County recommends that all men and women age 50 and older get screened for colorectal cancer. People with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) or those with other high-risk conditions should talk to their health care provider about beginning regular screening at an earlier age. "It is important to talk to your doctor about when to begin screening and what type of screening is best for you," Lucas said. 

For people who are underinsured or are without health insurance, the Cancer Services Program of Monroe County provides support for free screenings. Call (585) 224-3070 for information. CSP-MC is the only comprehensive breast, cervical and colorectal cancer prevention and screening program in Monroe County. This state-funded program pays for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings for eligible men and women facing a financial barrier due to inadequate health insurance.

For individuals insured through Medicaid, Medicare and commercial health plans, including those participating in the New York State of Health, colorectal cancer screening is covered with no cost to the patient.

For more information about the Cancer Services Program of Monroe County, please visit GetScreenedRochester.org or contact Candice Lucas at (585) 224-3070 or candice_lucas@urmc.rochester.edu

 

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