New York State Department of Health Renews Pledge to Substantially Reduce Colon Cancer in Recognition of Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Department Aims to Get 80% of Adult New Yorkers Screened

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 26, 2019) - The New York State Department of Health today announced a renewal of its pledge to substantiallyreduce colon cancer as a major public health problem by increasing the percentage of New Yorkers ages 50 to 75 years who are screened for colon cancer to 80%. This announcement supports the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable's "80% in Every Community" initiative and comes in recognition of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Among men and women combined, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in New York State, with approximately 9,000 New Yorkers getting colorectal cancer every year, and more than 3,000 dying as a result.

"As with so many other potentially deadly diseases, colon cancer is preventable and if caught early, treatable," said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "Following recommended screening guidelines can save the lives of thousands of people and reduce the number of people who die annually from colorectal cancer."

Through the state's efforts, the number of New Yorkers screened for colon cancer each year has been on the rise. The next iteration of the New York State Prevention Agenda (2019-2024) includes the goal of reaching 80% of New Yorkers ages 50-75 screened for colorectal cancer by 2024, which will be accomplished by working with local health departments and statewide partners to advance proven, evidence-based strategies for increasing screening rates in their communities. According to the most recently available data, 99,000 more New Yorkers were screened in 2017 than in 2016, including 70.1% of adults ages 50 to 75 years. This is an increase from 68.5% over the previous year.

The New York State Cancer Services Program (CSP) provides colon cancer screening to uninsured New Yorkers ages 50 to 75 years who are eligible for the program. The program has provided more than 76,000 fecal tests and nearly 10,000 screening colonoscopies since it began in 2007. The Department also supports patient navigators in Federally Qualified Health Centers and within the CSP to help patients navigate the healthcare system, remove barriers to screening and ensure that patients obtain screening and receive timely care. Other projects focus on policy or system changes that promote screening, such as encouraging employers to provide paid time off for an employee to complete their screening.

Screening is recommended for all men and women ages 50 to 75 years. Older adults, ages 76 to 85 years, and those younger than age 50 should speak with their healthcare providers about whether they should be screened. People with a personal or family history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease are at higher risk for developing colorectal cancer and may need to be screened before age 50. In addition, anyone with symptoms of colorectal cancer such as blood in or on their stool should talk to their healthcare providers about being tested for colorectal cancer.

For more information on colon cancer and screening, visit: