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Fair Haven Clinic Targets Colon Cancer – Please Get Screened

“Colon cancer is a common and lethal disease and the second leading cause of cancer death. (1) “Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in men and women”.(2)

The risk of colorectal cancer begins to increase after the age of 40 years and rises sharply at the ages of 50 to 55 years; the risk doubles with each succeeding decade, and continues to rise exponentially.” US Dept of Health & Human Services

There are many myths and misconceptions particularly in the Black and Hispanic communities about getting tested for any type of cancer.  Colon cancer is one that is particularly challenging in the African American community.  During the past 18 years OneWorld has provided multiple opportunities for free consultation and discussions in the studio with top-notch medical experts. Very few African Americans or Hispanics showed up.  It is as if to talk about it would lead to developing the disease.  Whatever the reasons are, getting passed the barriers to accessing available information and free screenings have not been easy in the African American and Hispanic communities.  We are pleased to see this effort at the Fair Haven Community Health Clinic (FHCHC) and hope that African Americans and Hispanics will take advantage of this beneficial opportunity.  Colon cancer must be caught early to be treated most successfully; this means without impacting one’s normal longevity.  Only 57 percent of African Americans survive for five years after a late diagnosis.

Colon cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Hispanic Americans. When people are diagnosed with colon cancer at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent, which is why screening for prevention and early detection is so important.

 A report published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2012 stated:  “Proper screening for colorectal cancer can lead to early detection and treatment of precancerous lesions and lower mortality rates. But racial and ethnic minorities (and those with lower incomes and inadequate insurance) are less likely than others to be screened.” Experience has taught us that with the African American population it is about more than not having access.  We need to address the fear, lack of knowledge and the myths involved. The RWJF report found: A need for “Provider/system level interventions—didactic education sessions for providers stressing national guidelines for colorectal cancer and the importance of screening.”

Below are a few important facts Hispanics need to know about colon cancer:

Hispanic Americans are less likely to get screened for colon cancer than either Caucasians or African Americans. Starting at age 50, all men and women should begin having colon cancer screening tests.

  • Some people are at higher risk for the disease because of age, lifestyle or personal and family medical history. However, colon cancer affects men and women alike.
  • Tell your health care professional if you have a personal or family history of colon cancer, colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease. Then ask which test you should have and when you should begin colon cancer screening.
  • There are many obstacles to colon cancer screening, including reluctance to talk about colon cancer and embarrassment about having procedures involving tests that require stool samples.

 “According to Katharine Lewis, deputy commissioner for The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), only 67 percent of blacks are screened, compared with 74.1 percent of whites, and only 48.9 percent of those with low incomes are screened compared to 79.1 percent of those with higher incomes.  With screening programs such as this one, the disparity gap can be closed; however, those being affected need to access the programs to derive the benefits.  At least for the areas being served, this disparity will not be about a lack of access.

 “To close these gaps, FHCHC has partnered with Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) to provide the screenings for this new program. FHCHC will bring the patient to the door of the colonoscopy suite, but it’s the YNHH doctors who will do that work, waiving the fee for uninsured patients.”

Mayor Harp, whose mother-in-law and husband succumbed to colon cancer, said it is imperative to let patients know that colorectal screenings are painless and with opportunities such as these, death from colorectal cancer can be prevented. 

According the American Cancer Society, this year 1,650 new cases of colon cancers are expected in Connecticut, and around 460 people will likely lose their battle with the disease.”  This means 460 people will die because they were diagnosed too late or not diagnosed at all; 60 percent of these deaths are preventable.

 Please read the complete article in the New Haven Independent linked below and browse the other fact-related links from reliable sources. US Dept of Health

More Facts Latinos Need To Know About Colon Cancer: “There is a myth in the Hispanic community that colon cancer is a man’s disease. Colon cancer does not discriminate against gender or race. It is a largely preventable disease. Colonoscopy screening can detect polyps and remove them before they turn into cancer,” said Marta L. Davila, M.D., FASGE, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. “I encourage all Hispanics age 50 and over to speak with their doctor about colon cancer screening. If you have a family history of the disease, you may need to begin screening before age 50.”

Spanish-language patient education videos and Public Service Announcements:

Learn more about OneWorld Progressive Institute's work in the community by visiting our web site, Health section, YouTube and Facebook links at:   - OneWorld’s YouTube – Please Visit

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