J.C. Blair to increase cancer screenings

HUNTINGDON — J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Gastroenterology Associates of Huntingdon announced both are making the pledge to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates by supporting the “80 percent by 2018” initiative, led by the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (an organization co-founded by ACS and CDC).

Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths; however it is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Through proper colorectal cancer screening, doctors can find and remove hidden growths (polyps) in the colon, before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether.

More than five hundred organizations have committed to substantially reducing colorectal cancer as a major public health problem and are working toward the shared goal of 80 percent of adults aged 50 and older being regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.

While colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped 30 percent in the U.S. over the last 10 years among adults 50 and older, it is still the second leading cause of cancer deaths. In fact, in 2015 in the U.S., 132,700 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed.

Huntingdon County’s 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment reported that colorectal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the county.

According to the CDC, 67 percent of Pennsylvanians age 50 and older are screened.

Part of the “80% by 2018” goal is to leverage the energy of multiple and diverse partners to empower communities, patients, and providers to increase screening rates.

“We are pleased and proud to join the cause to improve colorectal cancer screening rates,” Adam Dimm, chief operating officer at J.C. Blair, said. “We are asking all members of our community to come together and help us by getting screened and talking to your friends and family who are over 50 years of age about getting screened. Together, we can help to eliminate colorectal cancer as a major public health problem.”