Streets Turn Blue to Raise Awareness of Colorectal Cancer

Mar. 2, 2011

The Cancer Services Program of Monroe County, part of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Center for Community Health, wants to turn Rochester’s Main Streets blue in an effort to raise awareness about colorectal cancer. The Cancer Services Program is participating in a statewide campaign called “Main Streets Go Blue” to kick off Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.Blue is the universally recognized color for colon cancer, the No. 2 cause of cancer-related death in the United States. The Cancer Services Program is encouraging Rochester-area residents to wear blue on Friday, March 4 – National Dress in Blue Day – to raise awareness about this deadly but preventable disease. The campaign continues through March 31.

In addition to encouraging community members to wear blue and spread the message about the importance of regular screenings to save lives, local businesses are being asked to turn their storefronts and streets blue using lights, balloons and window displays. In addition, businesses will offer various discounts and specials throughout the month for individuals who complete a colorectal cancer screening.The featured street for this campaign will be South Avenue. However, residents will see similar blue themes on Monroe Avenue, South Clinton and at the Rochester Public Market. Students from Rochester City School No. 12 on South Avenue also will participate by coloring pictures of the nationally recognized colorectal cancer symbol. These pictures will then be displayed in local businesses’ windows.

It’s all being done in the name of awareness.“Early detection is perhaps the most important weapon in the war against cancer,” said Candice A. Lucas, director of the Center for Community Health’s Health Partnership and Cancer Services Program of Monroe County. “Regular screenings are especially important for the early detection of colorectal cancer, which is preventable, treatable and beatable when caught early through screening.”
This is the first time the Main Streets Go Blue campaign is being done in New York, Lucas said. Communities across the state are participating, with streets to be illuminated in locations such as Times Square and Niagara Falls.On March 4, the Cancer Services Program of Monroe County will host a free health screening event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at NeighborWorks Rochester, 570 South Ave. State Senator Joseph E. Robach will be on hand. Refreshments will be served and each guest will receive a gift bag and can get screened for prostate cancer, check their blood pressure and body mass index, and take home a F.I.T. kit to screen for colorectal cancer.

The Cancer Services Program of Monroe County recommends that all men and women age 50 and older talk to their health care provider about being screened for colorectal cancer. People with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) or those with other high-risk conditions may need to begin regular screening at an earlier age. Men and women are encouraged to speak with their doctors about when they should begin screening and how often they should be screened.Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the U.S. behind lung cancer. It is estimated that one in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. Each year in New York state, more than 10,400 people develop cancer of the colon and rectum, and nearly 3,600 New Yorkers die from this disease.

For more information about the March 4 event or about the Cancer Services Program of Monroe County, please contact Candice Lucas at (585) 224-3071 or