It is well known that colorectal cancer screening saves lives, yet some of the lowest screening rates in the state are in rural Colorado. On January 15, the Colorado Colorectal Screening Program, Colorado Cancer Coalition, Valley Wide Health Services and High Plains Community Health Center will partner together for a campaign to increase awareness of and need for colorectal (CRC) cancer screening in the San Luis Valley and Arkansas Valley.

“I was born and raised in Cheyenne County, the health of rural Colorado is important to me as I still consider eastern Colorado home,” says Andi Dwyer, Director of the Colorado Colorectal Screening Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Program Director at the Colorado School of Public Health. “As the director of a statewide program for Colorectal Cancer Screening, it is important people are aware CRC is the second leading cause of cancer death in Colorado but know it can be prevented.”

The multi-organizational campaign includes radio and print advertisements with information about the importance of screening and enrolling in the text message campaign. The text message campaign will be developed in consultation with the mHealth Impact Lab of the Colorado School of Public Health. It will last 4-6 weeks and will contain messaging primarily about colorectal cancer screening, with limited messages about breast and cervical cancer screening. These text messages will be interactive and will direct individuals to their local clinic and/or the Colorado Cancer Coalition website with additional resources and information. The campaign is designed to educate these communities about the need for preventive cancer screening, accessibility of services, and provide connection to a medical home.

Rural communities all over the United States have higher incidences of later-stage colorectal cancer and lower screening rates. When it comes to detecting and preventing the cancer, timing is everything. Screening can find and prevent colorectal cancer by locating and removing polyps, small growths that can develop into cancer over time.

“This new year, make it a point to talk to your family about health conditions in your family to share if you might have a history of CRC or other cancers,” says Dwyer. “Encourage people around you to seek medical care if you have any symptoms of CRC and go in for regular screenings.

For more information about the campaign and CRC screening please click here