It’s Time to Fight for More

• 

Community Blog
hero symbol
Eight years ago, the world was fighting Ebola; a Malaysian Airlines flight vanished; ISIS started making headlines; comedian Robin Williams passed away; the Ferguson, Missouri, riots broke out over the shooting of Michael Brown; and it was announced that the U.S. embassy in Cuba would re-open. Doesn't seem like that long ago, does it?

There’s urgency in what’s about to happen in eight years if we don’t act now — and act fast. Colorectal cancer, a preventable disease, will slide into the No. 1 spot of cancer killers among young adults, meaning it’s going to take even more lives. We believe that as a community, we have the power to change history and this prediction.

How? We need more!

MORE SCREENING AND EARLY DETECTION

Colorectal cancer is one of the only preventable forms of cancer with a variety of screening options. Early removal of polyps during regular colonoscopy screenings can help prevent cancer or catch it at its earliest stages — when it’s most curable. There are also a variety of recommended and approved stool-based testing options that are noninvasive, like FIT/FOBT and stool DNA, as well as virtual colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy. And, cutting-edge research is currently underway to find even simpler, noninvasive ways to check for this cancer.

But here’s the thing about screening options: They’re useless if people don’t actually get screened.

And while screening typically refers to getting checked for cancer at a certain age, anyone experiencing signs or symptoms of the disease MUST see a doctor and discuss screening immediately — even if they’re younger than age 45. This will be referred to as a “diagnostic” procedure, and the sooner this can be done, the better.

MORE RESEARCH

Research is responsible for the treatments we turn to today to prevent and fight disease. Thanks to patients who signed up for clinical trials and researchers who’ve worked tirelessly to design studies, we have FDA-approved therapies that have helped extend patients’ lives and, for some, cure their disease. However, we need more.

It’s been years since we’ve had a breakthrough therapy in colorectal cancer. Immunotherapy showed promise and hope several years ago, but only for 5% of the patient population. For the other 95%, it doesn’t work. The sad truth is we’re losing a lot of lives to this disease.

MORE EQUITY

Colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates are not uniform across race and ethnicity. Biology/genetics, health behaviors, and both having access to — and using health services — all play a role. Additionally, social factors like systemic racism, chronic stress, and neighborhood deprivation can all play a role in the health of a community.

More equity means everyone has a chance to quality health care and can live a healthy life, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, and socioeconimc status.

MORE ADVOCACY

In 1970, cancer overall was the second- leading cause of death in the United States. By 1971, President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act. This effort to pass policy was led by an activist, Mary Lansker, who was personally touched by cancer.

Activists and advocacy groups have a rich history emboldening our cancer research community to take steps forward. From legislation to the creation of alternative models for conducting cancer research, patient voices have pushed us to where we are today. In colorectal cancer, advocacy has played a pivotal role in introducing new policies that remove barriers to screening and increase research funding. But, we’re just getting started. There’s a lot of work
to do.

Beyond Blue is a resource curated for survivors, by survivorsOur editor-in-chief, Danielle Ripley-Burgess, is a two-time colorectal cancer survivor. Each page is dedicated to providing you with new resources that reflect topics and issues that matter most to survivors and caregivers, with a focus on empowering you and supporting your well-being.

3 thoughts on “It’s Time to Fight for More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.