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MARCH

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#COLONCANCERAWARENESSMONTH

What is Screening Madness?

The Blue Hat Foundation, in partnership with The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium and Lurie Cancer Center, initiated the "Screening Madness" campaign three years ago. The campaign coincides with Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and the March Madness Basketball Tournament, making it an ideal opportunity to reach a diverse and multigenerational audience.

 

The campaign was established in response to the premature death of Candace Henley's brother at age 40 from a pulmonary embolism and Chadwick Boseman at the age of 43, which sparked a renewed conversation about the rising number of colorectal cancer cases among young adults. It has become evident that there is a need for a more targeted approach, especially among African American men. While the factors of Chadwick’s diagnosis are unknown, his death is an opportunity to spotlight

If you or a loved one is 45 or older, now is the time to act if you have not been screened. Take the screening pledge!

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Why is it important?

If you're like most people, colon cancer isn't something that you think about daily. But maybe you should. The importance of raising awareness about colorectal cancer, especially among young adults and minority communities, cannot be overstated.

  • Colon cancer is now the #1 cancer killer in men, and #2 in women in people UNDER 50

  • Incidents of colorectal cancer in people under 55 is rising every year

  • Black men are 24% more likely to get colorectal cancer and 47% more likely to die from it than their white counterparts

What Should I DO?

Fear the disease

NOT the prep!

KNOW THE SYMPTOMS

EDUCATE YOURSELF

UNDERSTANDING THE OPPONENT

WHAT IS COLORECTAL CANCER?

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Colorectal cancer steps onto the court as a formidable foe, initiating its game in the key zones of the colon or rectum. The match begins when healthy cells start playing out of bounds, multiplying uncontrollably to form a team called a tumor. Like players in a game, tumors can be either aggressive, aiming to conquer new territories (malignant-cancer), or they stick to their home court without posing a threat elsewhere (benign-no cancer). The game often kicks off with the formation of noncancerous (benign) polyps on the inner lining of the colon or rectum, much like rookie players starting their careers. Not all rookies turn MVPs, but certain types, known as adenomas, have the potential to go pro and become cancerous if they're not benched early in the season. The strategy here involves early detection and removal of these polyps, preventing them from advancing to the next level of the game.

THE GAME PLAN

UNDERSTANDING PREVENTION

+ EARLY DETECTION

Defensive Plays" (Screening): Think of colorectal cancer screening/testing as the defensive plays of basketball. Just like a good defense prevents the other team from scoring, screening prevents colorectal cancer by catching and removing polyps before they turn into cancer. - Scouting for Rookies" (Screening for Polyps): Just like scouts look for potential stars in rookies, screening tests search for polyps (precancerous growths) in the colon and rectum. Catching and removing these "rookies" before they turn into major players (cancer) can prevent the game (cancer) from starting. - Reviewing Game Tape" (Detecting Cancer Early): Watching game tapes helps coaches develop better strategies by understanding their team's and opponents' performances. Similarly, screening detects colorectal cancer early when the "opponent" is weaker, and the chances of winning (successful treatment) are higher.

CHOOSING YOUR SCREENING PLAY

THE MVPs OF HEALTH SCREENING

The Three-Point Snipers (Stool Tests): FIT, hsFOBT, and Cologuard® are like outside shooters, offering a non-invasive way to score points (detect cancer) from afar (without entering the body). These tests look for hidden signs (blood) of the opponent (cancer) in stool samples, aiming to catch them off-guard. The Inside Defense (Direct Visual Exams): Colonoscopy, Flexible Sigmoidoscopy, CT Colonography are like setting up a solid defense inside the paint. These methods involve directly looking into the colon and rectum to spot and remove any potential threats (polyps or cancer) up close, providing a more thorough defense strategy.

THE GAME'S OBJECTIVE

REDUCING RISK + SECURING VICTORY

Securing the Championship" (Reducing Incidence and Death): Regular screening is the ultimate goal and vital in preventing colorectal cancer and saving lives. By playing a strong defensive game (regular screening), we can catch and remove threats early, leading to a more significant victory for health and well-being.

UNDERSTANDING THE GAME

SCREENING GUIDELINES

Entering the League Early" (Screening at Age 45): The American Cancer Society and the US Preventive Services Task Force are like the coaches advising all players (individuals) to start their health screening game strong at age 45. This is like making sure every player is fit and ready to play by checking their skills (health) early in their career to prevent any surprises (colorectal cancer) down the line. Personalized Training Sessions" (Screening for High-Risk Individuals): For those with a family legacy in the sport (family history of the disease) or other specific conditions, it's like having a known play style that might need special attention. These players should talk to their coach (doctor) about starting their training (screening) even before the official draft age (age 45) to stay ahead of the game.

RECOGNIZING THE
PLAY-BY-PLAY

SIGNS + SYMPTOMS

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Signs and Symptoms: Unexpected Time-outs" (Rectal Bleeding, Blood in Stool): Just as unexpected time-outs in a game raise questions, blood in your stool is your body calling for a time-out to check what's wrong. Changing Game Strategies (Changes in Bowel Habits or Stool Shape): If your play style (bowel habits such as diarrhea, and constipation) suddenly changes, it's like switching from offense to defense unexpectedly. It’s a signal to review your game plan with a health professional. Feeling Like You Still Have the Ball When You Don’t"(Incomplete Bowel Emptying): This is like thinking you still have possession when the ball's already been passed. It’s a sign something's blocking your play. Playing Through an Injury (Abdominal Pain, Decreased Appetite, Weight Loss): Ignoring these symptoms is like playing through an injury; it only makes things worse. Listen to your body’s signals to call a timeout. The Invisible Opponent (Anemia): Sometimes, the opponent isn't visible on the court. Anemia, like an unseen opponent, can weaken your game (health) without noticeable blood loss but leaves you feeling tired and short of breath.

THIS SEASON'S STATS

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE SCOREBOARD

Imagine we're in the 2024 season of our health and wellness league, and the stats are rolling in, not just for wins and losses, but for something much bigger—our fight against colorectal cancer. - Rise in the Rankings: colorectal cancer has taken the top spot in the unfortunate leaderboard, becoming the leading cause of cancer death among young men under 50 and securing the second place in the rankings for women. It's like this disease has gone on a scoring spree, dominating the stats in a category where no one wants to see such high numbers. - This Season's Lineup" (2024 Statistics): Imagine stepping into the 2024 season, and the stats board reads: an estimated 106,590 new players (cases of colon cancer) are joining the league, alongside 46,220 fresh faces (cases of rectal cancer) making their debut. That's a lot of rookies stepping onto the court, facing the biggest challenge of their lives. - The Scoreboard (Deaths in 2024): By the season's end, we're looking at a somber tally - approximately 53,010 players (people) won't make it to the next game. This isn't just a number; it's a call to action. Each figure represents a teammate, a fan, a family member who could have had more game time if only the play (cancer) was caught and tackled early.

ROOKIE RISKS

THE DRAFT OF YOUNG PLAYERS (20 - 49) INTO THE COLORECTAL CANCER LEAGUE

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In the health game, more young people, ages 20-49, are facing tough challenges with advanced colorectal cancer, a problem we used to see in older folks. It's like rookies going up against the pros from the start. That's why it's important for everyone, no matter their age, to keep an eye out for any warning signs early. The game is changing, and we need to be ready to catch this opponent quickly.

STEALTH PLAYER

THE SILENT PROGRESSION OF EARLY-STAGE COLORECTAL CANCER

Early-stage colorectal cancer can be difficult to detect, like a basketball player who doesn't appear dominant but can significantly impact the game's outcome. It's important to have a personalized screening plan based on a patient's risk to detect any potential signs of the disease before they become severe. This strategy neutralizes the opponent's strengths before they become too apparent.

GAME DAY PREP FOR THE BIG MATCH

COLONOSCOPY EDITION

This is your playbook for ensuring a successful colonoscopy, clearing the way for your healthcare team to make the right calls and keep your health in championship form. - Diet Changes - The Pre-Game Meal Plan: Just like athletes adjust their diet before a big game to ensure peak performance, you'll switch to a clear liquid lineup—think of it as sticking to clear shots from the free-throw line, avoiding the heavy meals that could weigh you down. - Laxatives - The Fast Break: Just like a fast break moves the ball quickly down the court to outpace the defense, laxatives swiftly clear the colon, setting up a clear playing field for a successful procedure. - Hydration - Staying in the Game: Just as players need to keep hydrated to maintain their performance throughout the game, you need to drink plenty of clear fluids. Think of it as keeping your fluids up to avoid getting sidelined by dehydration. - Fasting - The Final Countdown: In the last hours before the game, it's all about focus and ensuring nothing interferes with your performance. Fasting is like the quiet before the tip-off, ensuring your colon is in the best condition for the main event.

DRAFT PICKS AND FOULS

NAVIGATING THE RISK FACTORS IN COLORECTAL CANCER

- Excess Body Weight: Carrying extra pounds is like a player who slows down the team's fast break, making it harder to defend against health issues. - Physical Inactivity: Skipping training sessions leaves your defense weak against disease, much like neglecting practice makes a team vulnerable to opponents. - Long-term Smoking: This habit is like consistently missing shots from the free-throw line, directly impacting your health score in a negative way. - High Consumption of Red or Processed Meat: Overindulging in these foods is akin to a team relying too much on one play; it might work for a while but eventually, the opposition will catch on. - Heavy Alcohol Consumption: This is like a player who consistently makes fouls, gradually harming the team's chance to win—here, your health. - Low Calcium, Whole-grain, and/or Fiber Intake: Not getting enough of these is like not having a balanced offense, making it harder to score points for your health.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COURT...

MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS

We have non-modifiable risk factors, those aspects of the game we can't change but must be aware of to tailor our defense: - Personal or Family History of Colorectal Cancer or Polyps: This is like a team with a history of tough games against a particular opponent, signaling the need for a specialized game plan. - Inherited Genetic Disorders (Lynch Syndrome and FAP ): Carrying these genetic markers is like having a predetermined play that increases the game's difficulty. - Personal History of Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Conditions like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease mean the player is already facing a tough opponent, making the game harder from the start. - Type 2 Diabetes: This condition adds another challenging player to the opposing team, requiring a strong defense to manage.

FAMILY HISTORY

JOIN THE TEAM

Take the "Screening Madness Pledge" to get screened for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about your risk for colorectal cancer, or simply learn more about the disease. 

 

And join your favorite Big Ten team in the fight against colorectal cancer.

LEARN ABOUT BIOMARKERS

REMEMBER THESE THREE:

POTENTIAL DEFENSIVE STRATEGY

Regular long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin.

While this move can reduce risk—akin to a well-timed block or steal - it comes with its own risks, like the possibility of drawing a foul in the form of gastrointestinal bleeding.

TIP-OFF AT
45

Screen to Win!

Think of turning 45 like the start of your health's championship season.

It's the official tip-off for regular colorectal screening plays. No family history needed—just your game

face on for prevention. Let's make this preventive play a key part of everyone's health playbook.

FLAG ON THE
PLAY

Blood in your stool

A flag on the play signals something's not right. Similarly, finding blood in your stool is like a major foul in your health game—it's not normal and calls for an immediate timeout to check with a healthcare referee. Don't wait for the next quarter; addressing it early can lead to a better outcome in the health league.

Screening Madness' Inspiration + Foundation

Candace Henley's motivation for the Screening Madness initiative stemmed from a deeply personal place—the loss of her brother at 40 due to a pulmonary embolism, compounded by his reluctance to seek preventive healthcare due to past negative experiences with the medical system. His story highlighted significant issues, such as the distrust in healthcare providers, fear of being mislabeled, and the broader systemic healthcare disparities faced by Black men. These experiences prompted Henley to seek more profound answers to why Black men face the highest diagnosis and mortality rates of many diseases and often forego regular doctor visits.

The tragic death of Chadwick Boseman, who privately battled colorectal cancer, further illuminated the urgent need for increased awareness and proactive health measures, especially in the African American community. Boseman's legacy, marked by his courage and outpouring of public grief, underscored the importance of addressing this health crisis head-on.

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