Submitted by: Wendy Nickel, Vice President, Colorectal Cancer Alliance @CCAlliance

135,000 people in the United States will hear the words “you have colorectal cancer” this year.  Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths and over 50,000 will die this year from the disease.  In Philadelphia alone, over 300 people will lose their lives. And yet, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.  Screening saves lives but more than a third of eligible Americans have not had a colonoscopy or at-home stool testing.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance was founded in 1999 and is America’s largest organization focused on ending colorectal cancer.  We are the go-to resource and ally for anyone touched by this terrible disease with three focus areas to:

  • Provide support for patients, families, caregivers, and survivors;
  • Raise awareness of preventative measures; and
  • Inspire efforts to fund critical research.

This year, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance will kick off a national and Philadelphia-focused initiative, March Forth, to increase awareness and access to screening options.  The March Forth campaign is a city-by-city approach that will target geographic areas with screening rates lower than the national average.  Ultimately, we hope to save 100,000 lives over a 10-year period and eliminate colorectal cancer in our lifetime. Philadelphia is an ideal city to begin this national campaign, with a large population disproportionately at risk for colorectal cancer. Additionally, with world-class healthcare institutions, business leaders, and engaged community stakeholders, Philadelphia can serve as a successful model for the rest of the nation.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  You can get involved by sharing resources about colorectal cancer with your employees. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance offers a number of resources you can download for free. Your employees can also get involved by hosting a “Dress in Blue Day” at your company.  We are seeking sponsorship for a major multi-media awareness campaign in Philadelphia and the support of our business community is welcomed and appreciated. Finally, you can support Philadelphia’s prevention efforts by offering “wellness” days to your employees that provide them with time for colorectal cancer or other health screenings without taking time from vacation or sick days.

For information on supporting our work, employee awareness programs, lunch and learns, free resources, or other questions, contact Wendy Nickel, Vice President of Prevention at the Colorectal Cancer Alliance: wnickel@ccalliance.org.