Dear Fellow Nevadan,
Colon cancer is preventable. Despite this fact, colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer that affects both men and women in the United States. In 2007, it is estimated that over 52,000 Americans, including 490 Nevadans died from colon cancer. In 2004, the mortality rate from colon cancer was higher in Nevada than in each of the other 49 states.
Each of these cancers began as a small benign polyp. Many, and perhaps most of these deaths could have been prevented with screening colonoscopy and removal of these small benign polyps before they became a cancer. Other deaths could have been prevented during screening by finding colon cancers at an early stage. 67-89% of early stage colon cancers can be cured. In 2006, despite the clear value of screening for colon cancer, only slightly more than 50% of Nevadans had been screened, significantly below the national rate of 61%.
There are many reasons why someone may not be screened for colon cancer. They may not have insurance. They may not be aware of the risk of colon cancer and that screening can be life-saving. Their primary care doctor may not recommend screening, or they might not have a primary care doctor. They might be uncertain about how best to be screened, or frightened by the screening process. There may be language barriers, transportation problems, or other obstacles.
These are but a few of the reasons that patients are not screened, but as you can see, the reasons are multiple, complicated and inter-related. The key issues that must be overcome deal with patients and their concerns, health care providers, insurance payors, and questions about the various procedures that are available for screening.
Such a complicated problem requires a comprehensive solution that cannot be accomplished by a single entity. Our Nevada Colon Cancer Partnership brings together all of the forces that are needed to begin fixing this problem in Nevada. Our Partners include health care providers, patients, insurance payors, hospitals, and other major institutions that have the resources to make a difference in this fight. As a Partnership committed to this problem, we hope to develop and implement strategies that will reduce the human pain and suffering from colon cancer in Nevada.
The Nevada Colon Cancer Partnership needs your assistance to be successful. Please consider a cash donation or becoming a member as detailed in our donations and membership section. Working together we can and will make a difference.
Clark A. Harrison, MD
President, Nevada Colon Cancer Partnership