02/15/05 — Wayne among counties chosen in colorectal cancer testing pilot program

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Wayne among counties chosen in colorectal cancer testing pilot program

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on February 15, 2005 2:08 PM

Wayne County is one of 12 sites that will test the American Cancer Society's colorectal cancer screening program during this year's Relay for Life on May 13-14.

Phillip Gregory, the vice president for mission delivery for the state organization , gave details of the program at the Wayne County Unit's relay kickoff last week.

Gregory said that colon cancer is one of the most preventable diseases if detected early.

"Colon cancer sneaks up on you," Gregory said. "If you wait for the symptoms, you've waited too long."

The Cancer Society recommends that everyone 50 and older have a colorectal cancer screening test.

"That's the number one priority for the Cancer Society in this nation," Gregory said.

The purpose of the pilot program is to get 4,000 people age 50 and older to sign pledge cards by the start of each site's Relay for Life, promising to have a colonoscopy performed.

Gregory said society officials chose to push the pledge cards while fund-raising for the relay is going on because the relay is the "most successful nonprofit event in the United States and not just in terms of dollars raised, but in terms of education and cancer awareness. It is the largest event that recognizes and praises the fact that we have so many cancer survivors."

"We've got to raise awareness of colorectal cancer," Gregory said.

While raising money for the relay, team members are also being asked to collect pledges from their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Wayne County's goal is 350 pledges.

People who sign a pledge card, as well as those who solicit the pledge, will be eligible to win a weekend trip and a grand prize of two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the U.S.

Gregory said that 90 percent of colorectal cancer cases occur in people 50 and older. But if it runs in the family, then you should be tested before reaching that age.

"At least 75 percent of colon cancer starts as a pre-cancerous polyp," he said. "We have to stop whispering 'colorectal cancer.'"