About this campaign
Colorectal cancer is the second most deadly form of cancer but it doesn’t have to be. Screening can prevent the cancer or catch it early when it’s highly treatable. But only 59 percent of Oregonians are getting screened compared to 80.5 for breast cancer screening and 81.7 for cervical cancer screening.
To combat this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded a grant to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among Oregonians age 50 to 75 (45 for African Americans) to 80 percent in five years.
First, OHA conducted research to determine Oregonians’ attitudes and behaviors toward colorectal cancer screening. The research found that people are most likely to get screened if they are encouraged by someone they know and trust, particularly people who have already been screened and doctors. Based on that core finding, the campaign is taking a unique approach to a colorectal cancer screening campaign by asking already screened Oregonians to talk about their experience and encourage others to get screened too. It also works with provider networks and hospital systems in equipping doctors to not only strongly recommend screening to their patients but to encourage already screened patients to share their story.
In preparation for a statewide campaign, the campaign was piloted in Clatsop County in early 2011 with great results. Read the case study to learn more about the pilot campaign and its success.
The Statewide Campaign
The statewide campaign is now underway. In addition to raising screening rates among all Oregonians, the campaign seeks to decrease disparities related to colorectal cancer in specific communities. We are working with partners in African American and Native American communities where there is a higher rate of colorectal cancer diagnoses and deaths, and implementing a mini campaign in Eastern Oregon where there are increased barriers to getting screened and is a higher death rate due to colorectal cancer compared to the state average.
Read more about these focus area campaigns and partners.
Doctors play a critical role in getting people screened. For that reason, we are working with Legacy Health, Providence Health and Kaiser Permanente to equip providers (physicians, surgeons, other specialists and their staff) to strongly recommend screening to their unscreened patients AND ask already screened patients to share their story. Through this outreach, we are also seeking to best prepare doctors and their staff for an increase in demand for screening.
Read more about our Provider Focus.
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Last fall, my doctor suggested I undergo a colonoscopy. It’s typically first recommended when a person hits 50, which was my case. I had a colonoscopy in March, which seems fitting since March is National Colorectal Awareness Month. I decided to tell my story so others would get screened as well.
Colonoscopies aren’t something people usually discuss and many people tend to put it off because they’re unsure what it entails. Sending a long snakelike device through my backside never seemed very appealing to me, either.
I’m glad I went and had the procedure done. The peace of mind knowing there aren’t any potential problems down there is worth it. If you’re older than 50 or have a family history or are showing symptoms of colorectal cancer, you should consider it, too.
John Sowell – Roseburg