Arizona Part Of Nationwide Initiative To Increase Colorectal Screening

Published: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 3:46pm
Updated: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 3:47pm
(Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Health Services)

The Arizona Department of Health Services is urging everyone over the age of 50 to be screened for colorectal cancer as part of the “80 percent by 2018” initiative. But convincing people to get screened is sometimes a challenge.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Health. Despite that fact, many people aren’t comfortable getting screened. That’s because it involves either getting a colonoscopy or taking a non-invasive, at-home test that requires a stool sample.

The health department hopes to eventually change people’s perception when it comes to screening for that kind of cancer.

"People talked about getting mammograms the same way then that they talk about colonoscopy now, and it amazes me! It’s that we don’t like to talk about body parts," said Virginia Warren, Arizona Department of Health Services HealthCheck Programs Chief.

Warren said the symptoms of colorectal cancer typically don’t show up until the cancer has advanced, which is why screening is key. She also said there’s another group at risk for colorectal cancer:

"There are people in their 30s being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, so we’re concerned about that and I’ve talked to enough colorectal cancer survivors where they’ve all gone through the same story of talking to their provider and the provider not paying attention to their symptoms," Warren said.

 Warren said a lack of physical activity, low intake of fiber-rich foods and a diet high in fat are some reasons why younger adults are developing the disease.

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