Press release submitted by American Cancer Society|
Trinity Regional Health System joins American Cancer Society Campaign to fight colorectal cancer
Society's Statewide Initiative to Provide More Screenings, Save Lives
CHICAGO – Trinity Regional Health System is among several new Illinois hospitals and ambulatory providers that have joined the American Cancer Society's statewide colorectal cancer screening initiative. Launched in June, the multi-year program is expected to raise awareness about colorectal health and to screen a significant number of the more than 800,000 individuals in Illinois who meet eligibility criteria but haven't been screened, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.
"We are delighted Trinity Regional Health System is joining our campaign to raise Illinois' low colonoscopy screening rate," said K. Thomas Robbins, M.D., president of the American Cancer Society's Illinois Division. "If we raise awareness about the importance of screening and ultimately increase access to screening, we will reduce the number of people diagnosed with cancer in this state, and more effectively treat colorectal cancers caught earlier."
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Illinois with an estimated 2,510 people expected to die from the disease this year. But it is one of the only cancers that can actually be prevented through screening, which allows doctors to find polyps in the colon and remove them before they turn cancerous. The disease is highly treatable if found early. The Society recommends that people should start getting screened for colorectal cancer at age 50, but those individuals with a family history are at a higher risk and may need to be screened earlier.
One of the driving forces behind this campaign is that Illinois' screening rate remains low. Only 62 percent of the eligible population in Illinois has received a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. The rate is even lower among uninsured populations. The Society hopes to increase Illinois' colorectal cancer screening rate to 75 percent, potentially adding nearly 80,000 individuals to receive screening each year.
"Colorectal cancer does not discriminate in any population, socioeconomic or geographic community, yet sometimes there are barriers that prevent people from seeking care," said Andrea Schelin, RN, Trinity's Director of Oncology. "By participating in this campaign, Trinity is seeking to remove those barriers to help patients in our area achieve the best possible outcome. There's no financial reason that will now exist to prevent them from accessing care."
The Illinois Hospital Association played a key role in recruiting new member hospitals for the campaign, so that all geographic areas of the state will be represented.
"As hospitals and other health care providers accelerate the transformation of health care delivery, improving health equity is an important measure of progress," said Derek J. Robinson, M.D., M.B.A., FACEP, executive director, Illinois Hospital Association's Institute for Innovations in Care and Quality. "The Illinois Hospital Association and its member hospitals are pleased to join forces with the American Cancer Society in improving access to colon cancer screening, early detection and treatment with the goal of eliminating colon cancer disparities in Illinois."
In addition to Trinity Regional Health System and the Illinois Hospital Association, other initiative partners include Advocate Condell Medical Center, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Advocate Trinity Hospital, Northwestern Memorial, Rush University Medical Center, Southern Illinois Healthcare, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and University of Chicago Medical Center.
Through the colorectal cancer screening initiative, patients who meet screening guidelines will be able to schedule colonoscopies through the partnering hospitals and their satellite facilities. The Society will provide grant money to hospitals providing colonoscopies to the uninsured and underinsured whose insurance does not cover this service. Any abnormalities found, such as polyps or colorectal cancer, will be treated appropriately by the partnering hospitals with no charge to uninsured patients.
The Society also will work with partner hospitals to collect research data on colorectal cancer screening compliance so it can identify barriers to screening for underserved populations and to gauge colonoscopy screening capacity and accessibility at state, regional and local levels.
The initiative is currently being supported by leadership gifts from The Coleman Foundation and the Tellabs Foundation. Additional investments have been made by the American Cancer Society's Women's Leadership Circle, Walgreens, Walmart, Hollister, and a number of individual donors.
While colorectal cancer can be deadly, there are steps individuals can take every day to stay well and reduce their risk. The Society recommends that adults maintain a healthy weight by being physically active and eating a well-balanced diet. For those who are currently overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start. Limiting the intake of processed and red meats is another step individuals can take to reduce their risk of this disease.
For more information on the Society's colorectal cancer screening initiative, visit www.cancer.org or call 800-227-2543.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end cancer for good. As a global grassroots force of three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping you stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early, helping you get well by being there for you during and after a diagnosis, by finding cures through groundbreaking discovery and fighting back through public policy. As the nation's largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.8 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, an estimated 13.7 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.
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