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Press Release

ASGE Re-Launches Colon Cancer Awareness Web Site www.screen4coloncancer.org for National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Site features updated information on colon cancer prevention and a new birthday e-Card that reminds those 50 and over to get screened

OAK BROOK, Ill. - March 6, 2008 - Each year more than 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer and over 50,000 die from the disease annually in the United States. It doesn't have to be this way because colon cancer is largely preventable with regular screening and is curable with early detection. The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), representing the specialists in colon cancer screening, is re-launching its colon cancer awareness web site www.screen4coloncancer.org for National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March to encourage people to get screened for colon cancer.

"The single best way to prevent colon cancer is to get screened for the disease. ASGE recommends all men and women beginning at age 50 undergo a screening colonoscopy and repeat it every ten years," said ASGE President Grace H. Elta, MD, FASGE. "Colonoscopy screening is a safe, effective and well tolerated procedure that allows for the detection and removal of precancerous polyps or growths in the colon before they turn in to cancer. I encourage you to log on to www.screen4coloncancer.org to learn more about this preventable disease and where to find an expertly trained physician in your area."

The updated site offers visitors a wealth of vital information including disease facts about colon cancer, screening options, what to expect during a colonoscopy, frequently asked questions, the latest news about colon cancer such as studies and statistics, links to patient support and advocacy groups, an informational video dispelling the myths surrounding colon cancer, and how to find a qualified physician in your area. The content is available in English and Spanish with Chinese soon to come, and the site also gives patients an opportunity to share their personal stories about their experience with colon cancer.

In addition to these elements, visitors can send their loved ones who are 50 and over a birthday e-Card featuring cartoon characters "Peter and Polly Polyp" that reminds the recipient to get screened for colon cancer. The animated flash e-Card depicts a birthday celebration with the main message "Don't let Peter and Polly Polyp crash your birthday party. Get screened for colon cancer today, it is the second leading cancer killer. Ask your doctor about getting screened for colon cancer, it could save your life."

Colon cancer is preventable, beatable and treatable!

About Colon Cancer
Colorectal cancer, also know as colon cancer, is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Many of those deaths could be prevented with earlier detection. The five-year relative survival rate for people whose colon cancer is treated in an early stage is greater than 90 percent. Unfortunately, only 39 percent of colon cancers are found at that early stage. Once the cancer has spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes, the five-year relative survival rate decreases dramatically.

ASGE screening guidelines recommend that, beginning at age 50, asymptomatic men and women at average risk for developing colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years. People with risk factors, such as a family history of colon cancer, should begin at an earlier age. Patients are advised to discuss their risk factors with their physician to determine when to begin routine colon cancer screening and how often they should be screened.

Because they are less likely to seek routine screening, minorities -- particularly African Americans and Hispanics -- are more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer in advanced stages. As a result, death rates are higher for these populations than they are for Caucasians. Some studies have shown that African Americans are more frequently diagnosed with colon cancer at a younger age, leading some experts to suggest that African Americans begin screening prior to age 50. African Americans should speak to their physician about an appropriate screening schedule.

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About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Founded in 1941, the mission of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is to be the leader in advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence in gastrointestinal endoscopy. ASGE, with more than 10,000 physician members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Visit www.asge.org and www.screen4coloncancer.org for more information.

About Endoscopy
Endoscopy is performed by specially-trained physicians called endoscopists using the most current technology to diagnose and treat diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Using flexible, thin tubes called endoscopes, endoscopists are able to access the human digestive tract without incisions via natural orifices. Endoscopes are designed with high-intensity lighting and fitted with precision devices that allow viewing and treatment of the gastrointestinal system. In many cases, screening or treatment of conditions can be delivered via the endoscope without the need for further sedation, treatment or hospital stay.

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Call 1.866.305.ASGE between 8 am and 5 pm CST.