Deschutes County Health Services and St. Charles Health System – in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division — will launch a new campaign Wednesday to increase colorectal cancer screenings among Central Oregonians.
Guided by research finding that people are much more likely to get screened if they are encouraged by someone they know and trust, the campaign empowers already screened men and women to serve as champions and to encourage people they know to get screened.
“If you’ve been screened, you can play a significant role in saving the lives of people you care about by talking about your experience and encouraging others to get screened,” said St. Charles Community Education and Survivorship Coordinator Lizzi Katz, who is partnering with Deschutes County Health to promote the screenings.
Five Deschutes County residents have volunteered to be spokespeople for the campaign. They have been screened for a variety of reasons and are willing to share their stories which will be featured in print ads and on billboards throughout the region. Carson Meyer of Sisters, Corinne Martinez of La Pine; Cornelius “Mac” McCormick, Cindy Pierce, and Jeff Johnson of Bend, are all valued champions giving local inspiration to the campaign.
“I lost my husband to cancer, and my son is a cancer survivor. Cancer is so prevalent in all parts of our body,” said Corinne. “It’s so important to take an easy test and have the peace of mind that you’re OK. It’s not like surgery — and surgery could be the alternative if you don’t get the test.”
Colorectal cancer is the second most deadly form of cancer. Screening can prevent the cancer or catch it early when it’s highly treatable. When colorectal cancer is found early and treated, the five-year relative survival rate is 90 percent. Because screening rates are low, fewer than 40 percent of colorectal cancers are found early.
Central Oregonians 50 years and older (45 for African-Americans) are encouraged to get screened for colorectal cancer and talk to their friends and families about their experience.
For more information about colorectal cancer and screening options, visit www.TheCancerYouCanPrevent.org.