Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the U.S. While screenings for colorectal cancer are an important step in saving lives, only 59% of adults aged 45 years and older are up to date with screenings. Today, the American Cancer Society National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (ACS NCCRT), founded in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), honored five organizations for their exceptional work to increase colorectal cancer screening rates across the U.S. with the 2023 80% In Every Community National Achievement Award. 

The Colorado Cancer Screening Program (CCSP) was named an honoree in the state-based screening program category.

Founded in 2006, CCSP is a statewide program of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, fueled by the academic and public health expertise of The Colorado School of Public Health and funding from the Cancer, Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disease (CCPD) Grant Program. CCSP partners with Federally Qualified Health Centers, rural health clinics, and other safety net clinic systems to use evidence-based approaches to reduce disparities in CRC screening, lung cancer screening, and hereditary cancer risk assessment. Patient navigators and healthcare teams support low-income patients with overcoming barriers and increasing access to care through patient education, care coordination, client reminders and addressing social determinants to health. CCSP clinics have navigated average-risk and high-risk patients into 9,582 colonoscopies during the current grant cycle to-date (July 2018-June 2022) and >36,800 total colonoscopies since 2006. CCSP supports several clinic systems with strengthening their stool-based testing approaches and will soon be expanding the program to additional evidence-based interventions to further support efforts to reach 80% screening rates.

“Screenings and early detection are crucial to saving lives from colorectal cancer,” said Steven Itzkowitz, MD, gastroenterologist with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and NCCRT chair. “The work being done by each of our award honorees to expand access to these life-saving screenings is exemplary, and we’re thrilled to recognize their efforts.”

According to Colorectal Cancer Statistics 2023, a new report by the American Cancer Society, an estimated 153,020 people will be diagnosed with colorectal in the U.S. in 2023. The report also found that the proportion of those diagnosed with advanced-stage colorectal cancer increased from 52% in the mid-2000s to 60% in 2019.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a shift toward more advance disease, while screening rates continue to remain low,” said Dr. Arif Kamal, chief patient officer at the American Cancer Society. “While we must continue investing in research to discover new treatments for advanced-stage colorectal cancer, we must also work to increase screening rates. We applaud these organizations for their work to do just that.”

The 80% in Every Community National Achievement Awards is a program designed to recognize individuals and organizations who are dedicating their time, talent and expertise to advancing needed initiatives that support the shared goal to reach colorectal screening rates of 80% and higher in communities across the nation. The awards include one grand prize winner and four other honorees, each of whom receives a monetary award to support continued efforts to increase colorectal cancer screenings.

Source: American Cancer Society