Rochester health organizations join campaign for increased colon cancer screenings
Monday, April 3, 2017
Source: Penfield Post
The American Cancer Society and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield recently joined more than a dozen other health and business groups in pledging to achieve an 80 percent colon cancer screening rate in Rochester by 2018.
Almost 30 percent of Finger Lakes adults between the ages of 50-75 have not been screened for colon cancer, according to Excellus BCBS research. Upstate New York averages 800 deaths a year from the disease.
“We hope the commitment by Rochester’s health and business leaders to increase colorectal cancer screening rates will help prevent lives from being needlessly lost,” added Michael Crisona, of Farmington, senior market manager for the American Cancer Society.
Lynn Johnson, of Penfield, knows firsthand the risks of not getting screened. She didn’t follow her older brother’s advice to get a colonoscopy when she turned 50, the recommended age most people should start colon cancer screening.
“I was busy at work, and I didn’t understand the value of the screening,” Johnson said. “I was probably also a little fearful. I ignored it.“
A tumor would later perforate Johnson’s colon, painfully alerting her to her cancer.
“Regular screenings can detect early-stage colon cancer before symptoms develop,” said Martin Lustick, of Canandaigua, corporate medical director at Excellus BCBS. “Colonoscopy is the most thorough screening test and is proven to prevent the disease. You can also talk to your doctor about other screening options, including at-home tests.”
Johnson said she is lucky. After painful treatments, she’s been cancer free and in good health for more than five years.
“The doctors would have probably caught my cancer earlier if I had a colonoscopy at age 50 like I was supposed to,” said Johnson. “I might have avoided a lot of the pain and suffering.“
”Get a colonoscopy. It could save your life,” she said. “Oh, and listen to your big brother.“
To learn more about colon cancer screening in upstate New York: ExcellusBCBS.com/FactSheets.