Wilmot Cancer Center and Media Partners Raise Awareness on Colorectal Cancer

Local on-air personalities lend support in effort to highlight importance of colonoscopy screenings

March 08, 2011

"We know that if we can encourage more people to get screened at the appropriate times, we can significantly lower the number who die each year of colorectal cancer,” said John Monson, M.B.B.Ch, MD, Chief of the division of Colorectal Surgery at URMC. “Mike and Steve are performing a great service to our community and our hope is that people will be more aware of the need to get screened and the relative ease of a colonoscopy."

As healthcare organizations and providers across the country promote March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, faculty and staff of the James. P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center are partnering with WBEE 92.5 FM and 13WHAM TV in a unique campaign to draw attention to the importance of colonoscopy screening. 

Steve Hausmann, co-host of the BEE’s Morning Coffee Club, and Mike Catalana, Sports Director and Anchor at 13WHAM TV, will be having colonoscopies done and sharing their experiences with listeners and viewers. The pair will talk about their pre- and post-procedure experiences to help dispel some of the common misconceptions about colonoscopies, one of the most effective screening measures for colorectal cancer. They have also taped radio and television Public Service Announcements to encourage screening.

Colorectal cancer is one of the deadliest, yet most preventable forms of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery (ASCRS), colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the U.S. Approximately 142,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year, and approximately 51,000 die as a result. When colorectal cancer is detected in its early stages (confined to a primary area) through procedures like a colonoscopy, the prognosis is excellent, with a five-year survival rate of more than 90 percent. Pre-cancerous polyps found during a colonoscopy can be simply removed during the procedure, thereby eliminating the chance of cancer developing. Late stage detection lowers the five-year survival rate to just over 11 percent. Unfortunately, statistics show that nearly 70 percent of individuals over the age of 50 – the target age for beginning colonoscopy screening – do not get checked.

“We know that if we can encourage more people to get screened at the appropriate times, we can significantly lower the number who die each year of colorectal cancer,” said John Monson, M.B.B.Ch, MD, Chief of the division of Colorectal Surgery at URMC. “Mike and Steve are performing a great service to our community and our hope is that people will be more aware of the need to get screened and the relative ease of a colonoscopy.”

“It’s tragic that a disease that is so preventable with proper screening continues to claim so many lives each year,” Catalana said. “If my participation encourages others to get screened, it will have been well-worth the time and the minor inconvenience of the prep, which seems to dissuade so many people from having their colonoscopy done.”

Hausmann, who lost his mother to colorectal cancer, is particularly passionate about being involved in the awareness campaign. He will have his colonoscopy performed at Highland Endoscopy Center at Highland Hospital, an affiliate of URMC.

“In many ways, colorectal cancer is a silent killer, because unless we get screened and detect it early, by the time symptoms occur it may be too late,” he said. “Given my family history, I have to be vigilant, and would remind others with similar histories to make sure they get screened as recommended by their doctor.”

It is recommended that individuals begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, with subsequent screening at 10-year intervals if results prove normal. Some may be tested earlier than age 50, or more frequently if:

  • They have a close relative who had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer
  • They have inflammatory bowel disease such as Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s
  • They have genetic syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer.

For more information, please visit coloncancer.urmc.edu, or call (585) 275-URMC (8762) to make an appointment.

###

For Media Inquiries:
Michael Tedesco
(585) 276-5788
Email Michael Tedesco