LOS ANGELES --- The Entertainment Industry Foundation's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF's NCCRA) and co-founder Katie Couric urge Americans to know the facts about colon cancer prevention with a series of activities planned as part of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month.
Colorectal cancer is the #2 cancer killer in the US; almost 57,000 Americans are expected to die from it this year. A majority of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone age 50 or older were screened regularly, yet 41 million Americans who are candidates for screening have not been tested.
Throughout the week of March 14, NBC News' TODAY show -- co-anchored by Couric -- airs its sixth annual Confronting Colon Cancer series, recognizing March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. Highlighting the fact that women and men are affected in virtually equal numbers, the series focuses on prevention, and what is being -- and can be -- done so more people get screened. Profiles include a "day in the life of a world-renowned scientist, whose work on the molecular basis of colon cancer contributes to the development of better diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for this disease.
In addition, Prevention magazine provides an in-depth report about women's misconceptions about colorectal cancer in its March cover story: "Colon Cancer: What Every Woman Should Know."
EIF's NCCRA initiatives are as follows:
NCCRA Co-Founder Katie Couric and Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman encourage Americans 50 and older to talk to their doctors and get screened for colorectal cancer in a new public service campaign created by EIF's NCCRA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both the print and TV spots can be previewed at www.eif.nccra.org or www.cdc.gov/cancer/screenforlife .
EIF's NCCRA with a coalition of medical societies and advocacy groups will release the 2005 Colorectal Cancer Legislation Report Card which finds that only 17 states and the District of Columbia have passed insurance legislation for colorectal cancer screening - far more states have laws that guarantee coverage of preventive tests for cancers with lower death rates.
These "NCCRA Ambassadors" (who are colon cancer survivors) will speak about their personal experiences:
Joel Siegel, Film Critic for ABC's Good Morning America, will testify before a Senate Cancer Coalition hearing -- co-chaired by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) -- on Capitol Hill on March 16 (10:00 -- 11:30 a.m.). When he was 54, in July of 1997, Siegel was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Siegel has undergone surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and two lung resections because the cancer metastasized there. Siegel's oncologist believes that if Joel had had a colonoscopy at age 50 as is now recommended, there would have been a greater than 75% chance that he would NOT have developed cancer.
Fashion Designer Carmen Marc Valvo was diagnosed while in his late 40s. In interviews and speaking engagements, Valvo will emphasize the importance of being pro-active by asking your physician about colorectal cancer screening and knowing your family medical history.
Yahoo! is collaborating with EIF's NCCRA to provide information about colorectal cancer prevention on http://health.yahoo.com and on the main www.yahoo.com web portal.
Philosophy Cosmetics has joined EIF's NCCRA as a new corporate donor. Throughout March, proceeds of the sale of a new air freshener called "Laughing Gas" will benefit EIF's NCCRA. Funds raised will be used to promote public education efforts and to support cutting-edge research conducted by leading scientists working on prevention, diagnostic tools, treatment, and, ultimately, a cure for colorectal cancer. The product is sold at retail stories nationwide and at www.philosophy.com/laughinggas .
About the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and Entertainment Industry Foundation
Free educational materials and information are available through NCCRA's toll-free number 800-872-3000 and www.nccra.org. March marks the 5th anniversary of the NCCRA, which is dedicated to the eradication of colon cancer by promoting education about the importance of early medical screening and funding cutting-edge research. NCCRA was co-founded by journalist Katie Couric, cancer activist Lilly Tartikoff, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. As the philanthropic leader of the entertainment industry, EIF has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars and provided countless volunteer hours to support charitable initiatives addressing some of the most critical issues facing society today. www.eifoundation.org
About the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health
EIF's NCCRA provided seed capital for the establishment of The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at NewYork-Presbyterian/ Weill Cornell Medical Center, named in honor of Katie Couric's late husband. The Center provides health and educational services, state-of-the-art treatment and support for people who have or are at risk for gastrointestinal cancer. Patient care is offered in a seamless and convenient manner, with physicians and other healthcare providers working as a team. To learn more about the Jay Monahan Center, visit www.monahancenter.org .