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Know Your Options for Colorectal Cancer Screenings
Start Date: 3/21/2016Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 3/21/2016
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS—March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC) are promoting the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable’s 80% by 2018 initiative to increase colorectal cancer screening rates to 80 percent by the year 2018.


The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 3,000 Hoosiers will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 1,070 will die as a result of the disease, during 2016 alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 60 percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented with regular screenings.


“Screening is critical to preventing colorectal cancer,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “There are several screening options available, and I urge Hoosiers to talk to their health care provider about which approach is best.”


In Indiana, 65 percent of residents are screened for colorectal cancer. According to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2015 report, colorectal cancer is the third-most diagnosed cancer and cause of cancer-related death among both Hoosier men and women. In Indiana, African-Americans have higher colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates than whites, and men have higher rates than women. Additionally, from 2009-2013, 91 percent of colorectal cancer cases in Indiana were diagnosed among residents age 50 or older.


Smoking increases risk for colorectal cancer. By avoiding tobacco products, Hoosiers reduce their risk for developing colorectal cancer, but about 1 million Hoosier adults continue to smoke. Other risk factors include race, personal or family history, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, eating a diet high in processed or red meats and alcohol consumption.


“Lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on individuals’ health,” Dr. Adams said. “By choosing to avoid tobacco products and getting recommended screenings, Indiana residents can greatly reduce their risk of colorectal cancer.”

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends colorectal cancer screening for average-risk men and women ages 50 to 75 using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. The frequencies for screening tests include:

  • High-sensitivity FOBT (stool test) – Once a year
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy – Every five years
  • Colonoscopy – Every 10 years

Hoosiers should talk to their doctor to determine their risk level for colorectal cancer. A person is described as average risk if they have no symptoms, no personal or family history of colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps (benign growths in the inside surface of the colon or rectum), no personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s colitis), and/or no family history of colorectal cancer precancerous polyps. Individuals who have an increased risk for colorectal cancer because of family history or medical conditions should talk to their doctor about which screening option is best and whether earlier or more intensive screening is needed.


To learn more about the 80% by 2018 initiative, or what you can do to help promote this initiative, visit For more information about colorectal cancer and its risks, visit the ICC website at For information on Indiana’s free tobacco cessation program, or for quit assistance, visit, or call 1-800-QuitNow.


The ICC is a statewide network of partnerships whose mission is to reduce the cancer burden in Indiana through the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive plan that addresses cancer across the continuum from prevention through palliation. Participation in the ICC is open to all organizations and individuals interested in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, quality of life, data collection and advocacy regarding cancer-related issues.


Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at for important health and safety information or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at







Contact Information:
Name: Ken Severson
Phone: 317.233.7104
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Family & Health
  • Agency Name
    Health, Indiana State Department of

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