March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. This is an opportunity for people (healthcare providers, patients, survivors and caregivers) to help provide education and awareness about the disease.
Colon cancer (also known as colorectal cancer or bowel cancer) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). It is the 2nd leading cause of death from cancer in men and the 3rd leading cause of death from cancer in women in Canada.
The good news is that colon cancer can be stopped in its tracks. By getting screened, you can increase your chances of catching this highly treatable cancer early. Screening also helps in preventing colon cancer from occurring through the finding and removal of polyps. This list of provincial and territory screening programs (where available) is a great place to start your search for screening information.
To help increase awareness of the importance of colon cancer screening, we have curated the following resources from cancer organizations here in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia. We hope you find them helpful.
Five Feet of Fabulous
The Five Feet of Fabulous video outlines in an easy-to-understand way all of the great things the colon does for us. From its role as a dynamo of dehydration to being a home to beneficial bacteria, the colon really is five feet of fabulous.
The video serves as a reminder that you should show your colon a little love. This can be done by eating right, exercising and getting screened.
Dress in Blue Day
March 4 is Dress in Blue day. The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) is leading Dress in Blue day with this campaign. In addition to dressing in blue, CCAC has also provided other ways to increase awareness.
For example, schools can hold assemblies and share pictures of students wearing blue, office workers can have a potluck comprised of healthy food and share the recipes and photos on social media. These initiatives are simple and easy ways to help raise awareness and get the conversation started on colon cancer awareness. For more information on how to get involved, check out the Dress in Blue website.
Endangered Butts is another initiative from The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC). It features a series of videos where a polar bear shares information about colorectal cancer. It may not be obvious at first, but the “Polar bear” is in fact a person’s backside. The lesson here? Don’t let your butt become endangered.
Love Your Butt and Colon Town
The Chris4Life organization has several interesting tools and resources. To help spread awareness, the organization has their Love Your Butt video. The video raises some interesting points. For example, the video illustrates that people tend to think about looking both ways before crossing the road, so why don’t they think about screening?
Another interesting resource is Colon Town, an online community made up of engaged patients, survivors and care partners. The map of Colon Town includes destinations such as Poop Group, IBD Alleyway and Stoma City.
Resources from HealthFinder.gov
HealthFinder.gov is a Federal Government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The website focuses on overall health and wellness but they also have colon cancer materials to help you in your efforts to raise awareness.
One interesting way to get the conversation started is via e-cards. There are several screening related cards which you can send to up to 10 friends (or family members).
The cards help promote screening and serve as a (gentle) reminder about the importance of speaking with a healthcare provider about screening options.
Resources from Bowel Cancer Australia
Bowel Cancer Australia has several tools and resources on their website. There is a short (and impactful) video titled, Don’t Wait until it’s too late as well as a one-pager, Bowel Cancer Risks and Screening Pathway. The Pathway can be a useful resource as it is easy to print, share and start a conversation with.
In addition to the resources outlined above, we have compiled a YouTube playlist of some of the more interesting and impactful Colon Cancer Awareness initiatives. The playlist includes videos featuring Meryl Streep (produced by the CDC) as well as a lighthearted approach to doing the screening test at home (from Cancer Research UK).
Feel free to share and embed the list.