Family member / Advocate
My family has had more than its share of people who’ve died from various cancers, including colorectal cancers. A few years ago I realized that my state, Mississippi, had no coordinated effort to prevent and control colorectal cancer, despite having the then-highest CRC incidence and mortality rates in the nation.
As an educator at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute, I knew that most colorectal cancers could be prevented by screening and follow-up, and that most early-stage colorectal cancers could be cured through simple surgeries. In response we started the 70×2020 Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative. We deliberately chose this goal because we had so much work to do with few (if any) resources at our disposal.
Thanks to over 530 individuals and organizations in the 70×2020 Partnership, Mississippi has dropped to second place in CRC incidence and mortality, our racial disparity in CRC screening rates has decreased, and we are on a trajectory to exceed the 70×2020 goal ahead of schedule.
All that progress can disappear in an instant if CRC screening is no longer covered as a wellness benefit. So I need to speak up for common-sense public health policies.
As a scientist, I also know that “most” does not mean “all”, so I need to speak up for more basic, translational and clinical research to develop better treatments for CRC subtypes which do not play by the rules. Those are the ones which continue to kill those we love, so let’s all Fight CRC! together.
Don’t be shy! Share the message with everyone you meet! Screening and prevention will save most people from colorectal cancer!