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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month Residents Invited to Wear Blue and Go Blue to Spread the Word

The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition (RCDC), along with its partners, are joining the Colon Cancer Alliance’s National Awareness Campaign to Wear Blue on Friday, March 7.  In addition, residents are encouraged to Go Blue all month by spreading the word that screening for colon cancer can save lives.

“Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer death,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Mark Caligurie, public health and safety liaison. “These numbers are disturbing, since colon cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable diseases, when caught early.

“Colon cancer does not discriminate; it affects both men and women. We encourage residents age 50 and older, or those people who are younger who have risk factors and a family history of colon cancer, to schedule a colon cancer screening,” said Freeholder Caliguire.  “Screenings are essential, because usually there are no symptoms until the cancer has reached an advanced stage.

Approximately 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer every year.  Thanks to early detection, there are more than one million colon cancer survivors in the United States.   The five- year survival rate for early-stage colorectal cancer is over 90 percent; however, when colorectal cancer is detected at a late stage, the rate drops to 5 percent. 

“Since 2006, Somerset County has increased efforts to inform the public and raise awareness through educational campaigns.  The goal of the Wear Blue and Go Blue campaigns is to further this effort,” said Freeholder Caliguire.

The RCDC is striving to enlist Coalition members, partners and community members at large to join in this awareness event to Wear Blue and Go Blue.  Residents and workplace sites are encouraged to share photos of people wearing blue on March 7 and comments on what they did to spread the word.  Photos and comments will be included in the RCDC newsletter and on the Coalition’s website at www.co.somerset.nj.us/health/RCDC/index.aspx   Send photos and comments to Lucille Y-Talbot, RCDC public health coordinator, at ytalbot@co.somerset.n.j.us  More information about the Wear Blue campaign can be found at http://support.ccalliance.org  

The RCDC is encouraging awareness through a number of initiatives and member programs.  A proclamation declaring March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month was presented at a recent Freeholders’ meeting.  A table with educational materials will be at the county administration building at 20 Grove St. in Somerville from March 3 through the end of the month.

In addition, the RCDC is working with the American Cancer Society by providing healthcare providers with a toolkit on how to increase the number of people being screened.  Also, the RCDC is providing information on diagnostic services and assistance for residents diagnosed with cancer so they can obtain prompt treatment.

To learn more about the RCDC and to arrange for a community speaker, visit www.co.somerset.nj.us/health/RCDC/index.aspx

or contact RCDC Coordinator Lucille Y-Talbot at (908) 203-6077 or ytalbot@co.somerset.nj.us

The RCDC is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Office of Cancer Control and Prevention.  For more information on the RCDC, to become a member or to learn more about available cancer resources or screening locations, dates, times and eligibility, contact Lucille Y-Talbot at (908) 203-6077 or ytalbot@co.somerset.nj.us