(Belleville, IL) Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives. HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital has made the pledge to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates by supporting the 80% by 2018 initiative, led by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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 in the U.S. when men and women rates are combined; however, it is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Through 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.
In support of this initiative during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is offering a free screening with the InSure FIT kit and an educational presentation by Dr. Elie Chahla, Gastroenterologist with the HSHS Medical Group at SWIC-Programs and Services for Older Persons (PSOP), 201 N. Church Street, Belleville, on March 21 at 11:30 a.m. To make a reservation, please call 234-4410, ext. 7015. Seating is limited.
“80% by 2018” is a National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) initiative in which over 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% of adults aged 50 and older being regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.  Leading public health organizations, such as ACS, CDC and the NCCRT are rallying organizations to embrace this shared goal.
“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem, and adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it, but 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,” said Dr. Chahla.  “The truth is that the vast majority of cases of colorectal cancer occur in people age 50 and older. Colorectal cancer in its’ early stages usually has no symptoms, so everyone 50 and older should get tested. There are several screening options – even take home options – available. Plus, many public and private insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening and there may be local resources available to help those that are uninsured.”
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 death in the U.S, despite being highly preventable, detectable and treatable. In fact, in 2015 in the U.S., 132,700 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed.
Part of the 80% by 2018 goal is to leverage the energy of multiple and diverse partners to empower communities, patients, providers to increase screening rates. The 80% by 2018 initiative consists of health care providers, health systems, communities, businesses, community health centers, government, non-profit organizations and patient advocacy groups who are committed to getting more people screened for colorectal cancer to prevent more cancers and save lives.
“St. Elizabeth’s goal is to ensure patients have access to current oncology information, research and clinical trials. We are thrilled to join the 80 by 2018 cause to improve colorectal cancer screening rates,” said Kathy Santel, MSN, RN, Nursing Manager of Oncology Services, Infusion Services & Hemodialysis at St. Elizabeth’s.  “We encourage members of our community to get screened and talk 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.”
HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is also in the process of reestablishing Commission on Cancer accreditation. In 2015, St. Elizabeth’s Cancer Committee reunited to create a Board of Oncologists, physicians, nurses and a variety of other health care specialists to develop a program that will meet the specific needs of our community. The Committee’s goal is to develop services and provide state-of-the art treatment services for the patients we serve.
For more information or to learn about resources in your area, visit steliz.org/Medical-Services/Cancer-Resources.

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Kelly Barbeau

Manager, Marketing & Communications
HSHS Illinois
Office: (618) 234-2120, Ext. 41270

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