New Program to Provide Access to Vital Colon Cancer Screening

Friday, May 23, 2014
Blue Hope PreventionColon cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States and only 60% of Americans report being up-to-date with the recommended screening guidelines. Studies show that one of the main barriers to getting a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer is financial burden due to the cost of the screening or the time away from work needed to have the procedure done. In order to address this need, the Colon Cancer Alliance has partnered with Boston Scientific, a global medical device company, to develop a nationwide screening assistance program called Blue Hope Prevention.

The program, launched in May 2014, was created after Randy Cox and Debbie Whitmore, stage IV colon cancer survivors and Colon Cancer Alliance volunteers, shared their stories at a Boston Scientific event last spring. Employees at Boston Scientific were inspired to help raise awareness around colon cancer and the importance of early detection and raised more than $10,000. Boston Scientific then matched the amount, and donated a total of $20,000 to the Colon Cancer Alliance to develop the new program.

Nearly one year ago, the Stanford University School of Medicine analyzed data collected from more than two   million patients over the past 20 years. They found that a drop in colon cancer incidence correlated with Medicare's extension of colonoscopy coverage in 2001. The study supports what the Colon Cancer Alliance and other advocacy organizations had been asserting for nearly 15 years: access to colon cancer screenings saves lives. 

“Nowadays, people know they need to get screened but what is alarming is 23 million people in the United States are not taking action,” said Eric Hargis, Colon Cancer Alliance CEO. “If you’re 50 years old or of high risk, you need to get checked.”

The Blue Hope Prevention program will provide screening for uninsured and underinsured individuals who are in need of screening. Screening for colon cancer is critical in helping physicians diagnose this disease in earlier stages, often before symptoms present, when it is easiest to treat. Even better, some screenings allow medical professionals to find and remove polyps before they become cancerous, potentially preventing a colon cancer diagnosis altogether.

“The bottom line is screenings save lives,” continues Hargis. “This cancer is up to 90% treatable when caught early.”

“Boston Scientific is pleased to support the Colon Cancer Alliance in the development of its new screening assistance program,” said David Pierce, president, endoscopy, Boston Scientific. “Colon cancer is highly treatable if caught early, and we are committed to helping individuals gain access to these potentially lifesaving screenings.”

Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Through increasing awareness and access to screening, this can be changed. 
For more information or to find out if you’re a candidate for the Blue Hope Prevention program, contact the Colon Cancer Alliance Helpline at 877-422-2030
or visit http://www.ccalliance.org/screeningassistance

For immediate questions, contact Colleen Pyra, Marketing/Communications Director at (949) 554-4098 or cpyra@ccalliance.org

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