Granholm Recognizes March As Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

March 1, 2006

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm signed a proclamation today announcing March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. March 2006 marks the continuation of a national effort to raise public awareness about colorectal cancer – a serious disease that affects many Michigan citizens.

“When it comes to colorectal cancer, screening saves lives,” said Janet Olszewski, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. “Screening not only detects the disease at an early, curable stage, but it can also prevent it by finding and removing polyps – or precancerous growths – that might become colorectal cancer.”

The Michigan Cancer Consortium recommends colorectal cancer screening for men and women starting at age 50. Yet, only 53 percent of Michigan adults age 50 and older report being screened for colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in Michigan, with only lung cancer taking the lives of more men and women. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1,830 Michigan men and women will die of colorectal cancer in 2006, and that 4,930 new cases will be diagnosed in this state. Michigan ranks 33rd in the nation for colorectal cancer deaths.

Everyone is at risk of developing colorectal cancer – all men, all women, all races. The primary risk factor for colorectal cancer is increasing age.

How can you stop colorectal cancer before it begins? Prevention begins with these two steps:

· Step 1: Get Screened. Screening tests can find polyps and removing polyps early can prevent cancer. Early diagnosis can also result in more successful treatment.

· Step 2: Live healthy. Eat right and be active. Eat high fiber, low fat diets. Quit smoking because smokers are at a higher risk of colorectal cancer. Walk your 10,000 steps a day. Being active is being healthy. For more information about colorectal cancer, please visit the Michigan Cancer Consortium website at www.michigancancer.org.