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March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month

WASHINGTON,, Feb. 16, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In 2000, March was officially dedicated as National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Since then, the nationally recognized day has grown to be a rallying point for the colon cancer community, when thousands of patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates throughout the country join together to spread colon cancer awareness and raise funds for the cause. The nation's oldest and largest nonprofit dedicated to the disease, the Colon Cancer Alliance, is encouraging everyone to support National Colon Cancer Awareness Month so the disease can be knocked out of the top three cancer killers.
"Colon cancer is often a difficult disease for people to talk about. National Colon Cancer Awareness Month provides the Colon Cancer Alliance a greater opportunity to create a dialogue about this deadly disease and decrease the barriers to screening," said Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. On average, the lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about one in 20. In 2016, it is estimated that more than 130,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and nearly 50,000 will die from the disease. Despite these statistics, it is one of the most preventable and, if found early, most treatable forms of cancer.

A simple test could save a life. The importance of colon cancer screening:
• According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only two in three adults who need to be screened are actually doing it.
• Colon cancer often has no symptoms until it's at an advanced stage. In many cases, timely screening can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancer.
• Everyone starting at age 50 should get screened. However, family history, ethnicity and race can put an individual in a high-risk group and make them a candidate for early colon cancer screening. Talk to your doctor about the best age for you to be screened.
• While rates for colon cancer in adults 50 and older have been declining due to improved screening rates, incidence rates in adults younger than 50 years have been increasing.
• There are more than one million colon cancer survivors in the United States. Since the mid-1980s, the colon cancer survival rate has been increasing, due in part to greater awareness of screening and screening options, as well as improved treatment options.

Support National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Ways to Get Involved:
• Show support for those fighting the battle and raise awareness for colon cancer by wearing blue on March 4, National Dress in Blue Day.
• Know the facts about colon cancer to be a beacon of hope for those who have questions. Talk to friends and family about the screening options now available and the importance of getting checked.
• Host a fundraising or education event.
• Register for the Colon Cancer Alliance's annual fundraising Undy Run/Walk and Scope It Out Events. Throughout the year, the organization hosts 25 fundraising Run/Walk events in major cities throughout the United States.

Colon Cancer Awareness Month is presented by Exact Sciences, with additional support for the effort provided by Boston Scientific Corporation, Dulcolax, and Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

About the Colon Cancer Alliance
The Colon Cancer Alliance was founded in 1999 by a group of 41 survivors, caregivers and friends who saw the need to educate the public about colon cancer and provide support to those affected by the disease. Since then, the organization has grown to be the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit dedicated to the disease, helping nearly 1.5 million patients and families every year. The Colon Cancer Alliance's mission is simple: to knock colon cancer out of the top three cancer killers. The organization is doing this by championing prevention, funding cutting-edge research, and providing the highest quality patient support services.
About Dress In Blue Day
Dress in Blue Day began with Anita Mitchell. Ms. Mitchell was battling stage IV colon cancer and had lost a close friend and father to the disease. She saw a need to bring greater awareness to a cancer not many people wanted to discuss. Ms. Mitchell is a founder of Colon Cancer STARS and a volunteer for the Colon Cancer Alliance. She brought the Dress in Blue concept to the Colon Cancer Alliance in 2009. The Colon Cancer Alliance expanded this concept into Dress in Blue Day, a national celebratory day to raise awareness of colon cancer, specifically highlighting the spirit and courage of survivors and their families, and honoring the memory of those lost to the disease.

For more information about the Colon Cancer Alliance and colon cancer screening, treatment and patient and family support, visit www.ccalliance.org.

For more information about Colon Cancer Awareness Month, or to find nearby events and ways to get involved, visit coloncancermonth.org.

Register for the nationwide Run/Walk events at www.ccalliance.org/undy-runwalk/.



A photo accompanying this release is available at:
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=38948

CONTACT: Colleen Schwab, VP of Marketing Colon Cancer Alliance cschwab@ccalliance.org 949-554-4098

Source:Colon Cancer Alliance