Screenings, Diet, Exercise Are Key to Preventing Colon Cancer

Somerset County Freeholders Proclaim March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The Somerset County Board of Freeholders and the Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition (RCDC), along with its partners, are encouraging residents to get screened for colon cancer and incorporate a healthy diet, including fiber and whole grains, to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.

“The goal of the March Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month campaign is to increase awareness about colorectal cancer, which does not discriminate,” said Freeholder Peter S. Palmer, public health and safety liaison.  “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, colorectal cancer affects both men and women, is the second leading cancer-related killer in the United States and is the third most common cancer in men and women.”

A proclamation declaring March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month was presented at the March 10 freeholders’ meeting.

For close to a decade, the RCDC, through its multi-year educational campaign and working with health care providers, has promoted projects to increase the number of people going for early-detection cancer screenings in both counties.

“This year we hope to enlist all RCDC members and community members at large to join us in this prevention effort,” said Freeholder Palmer.  “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 learn about the importance of screenings.  Treatment works best and outcomes are better when cancer is found at an early stage,” he said.

The RCDC also is encouraging awareness through a number of initiatives and programs.  A March calendar with tips and hints is available at http://bit.ly/RCDCwebsite The dates with a “blue star” open to tips on adding fiber and whole grains to your diet, screening information and available resources.

A major theme of the March calendar is “Fiber Fridays.” The goal is to encourage people to add fiber-rich foods to their diets by designating one day a week as a jumping-off point.  Several of the RCDC partners will be sending messages to employees on Fridays on how to incorporate fiber and whole grains in their diets.  Several organizations with on-site cafeterias are offering those foods for lunch on Fridays. The public is encouraged to share this idea at their workplace, school and at home.

Follow the Atlantic Health System on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wellawareNJ for helpful tips during the month of March. For more information or calendars, contact RCDC Coordinator Lucille Talbot at (908) 203-6077 or by email at ytalbot@co.somerset.nj.us.

A free program titled “Is Your Colon Fit? Passing the Test” will be presented by a physician and clinicians from the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset Tuesday, March 24, from 11a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Steeplechase Cancer Center at 30 Rehill Ave. in Somerville.  Directions are available at
http://bit.ly/RWJDirections . Registration is required.  To view a description of the program and to register online, visit http://bit.ly/ColonCancerProgram .

Somerset County residents can learn if they are
eligible for low-cost or reduced-cost medical care, including exams and screenings, by calling Zufall Health Center in Somerville (hablamos espanol) at (908) 526-2335 or by visiting their website at http://bit.ly/ZufallHealth .

Morris County residents can do the same through the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program (NJCEED) at Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center by calling (973) 971-5952 (hablamos espanol) or by visiting http://bit.ly/CGSimonCancerCtr .

The Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Office of Cancer Control and Prevention. For more information, to become a member or to learn more about available cancer resources, screening locations, dates, times and eligibility, contact RCDC Public Health Consultant Lucille Y-Talbot at (908) 203-6077 or visit www.co.somerset.nj.us/health/RCDC/index.aspx