Virginia Cooperative Extension works to increase colorectal cancer screening rates

Eighty by 2018 emblemColorectal cancer screening has proven to save lives.  Virginia Cooperative Extension has made the pledge to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates by supporting “80% by 2018″ — an initiative to reduce colorectal cancer as a major public health problem. The program is being led by the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (an organization co-founded by the 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 called “polyps” in the colon before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether.

More than 750 organizations have committed to 80 percent by 2018, and they are working toward the shared goal of 80 percent of adults aged 50 and older being screened regularly for colorectal cancer by 2018.

“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem,” said Carlin Rafie, assistant professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension adult nutrition specialist.  “Adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it. Despite this, we have found that many people aren’t getting tested because they don’t believe they are at risk, don’t understand that there are testing options, or don’t think they can afford it.”

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