Capital Digestive Care will serve as the area’s founding partner for a Colon Cancer Alliance program focused on underserved communities. The two groups join forces to reduce the colon cancer mortality rate across a region that leads the country in deaths attributed to colon cancer. Key to the program is getting the message out among African Americans, the primary underserved community in the D.C. region. Although it’s not understood why, African Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer 20 percent more than any other ethnic group. They also have a 45 percent higher death rate because they are more likely to be diagnosed in later stages, when it is harder to treat.
We are honored to partner with Colon Cancer Alliance to spread colon cancer awareness through collaborative education and advocacy initiatives, said Dr. Arnold Levy, president and CEO of Capital Digestive Care. One of our key messages is that African Americans need to be screened at age 45, five years earlier than other groups. Early detection can significantly improve chances for survival.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington is No. 1 in the nation for the highest rate of colon cancer deaths. Colon cancer is unlike many other forms of cancer “it can be prevented nearly 90 percent of the time when caught early” making timely and appropriate screening of high importance. The greatest risk factor for colon cancer is age. However, approximately 15,000 people under the age of 50 will be diagnosed in 2014 across the United States.
“We’re committed to improving screening rates across the country and it is a tragedy that many of our friends and neighbors here in Washington have died from colon cancer, a largely preventable disease,” said Eric Hargis, CEO of Washington-based Colon Cancer Alliance, the largest colon cancer patient advocacy organization in the country. “We look forward to growing our partnership with Capital Digestive Care and more importantly, saving lives through increased screening rates.”
Through the new program, Capital Digestive Care and Colon Cancer Alliance seek to boost screening rates among at-risk communities by hosting educational activities, joining community events, distributing informative materials and more.