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Stan Cowan, Cancer Inquiry Program
Missouri Department of Health Bureau of Cancer Control 
Ph 573-522-2841   Fax 573-522-2899    Cowans@mail.health.state.mo.us

The American Cancer Society estimates that 3,300 Missourians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) in 2002. They also estimate that 1,300 Missourians will die from this disease this year. CRC is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Missouri. Yet, this disease can be prevented, be screened, and be treated. Depending on the screening method used, anywhere from 30% - 80% of CRC deaths can be prevented. That's 400 - 1,000 lives that can be saved every single year in Missouri!

This March is the 3rd observance of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

  1. In each successive year, we have seen more local campaigns to bring awareness of CRC to the attention of the community. This year, we know of campaigns in Cape Girardeau County, Joplin, Nodaway County, Phelps County, Scott County, St. Joseph, and greater St. Louis (includes St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County with media spillover into other Missouri and Illinois counties). The success of these campaigns is due to collaboration of community organizations such as local cancer control coalitions, health departments, American Cancer Society, hospitals, medical societies, employers, churches, etc. If your area is not involved for this year and you would like have a local campaign by next year, let us know and we will see about helping you get started.
  2. For your advance notice, attached is a news release that will be sent to television, radio and print media on February 27 for publication in March. By request, I've also attached last year's news release to give you some ideas if you want to further develop your own news release.
  3. Governor's Proclamation. We have been informed that Governor Holden will be signing a proclamation designating March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (copy attached). This signing will occur in a ceremony on March 19th in the Governor's Office in the Capitol Building.
  4. Coming Soon to Television, Print, Radio, and the Internet - - - It's Polyp Man !!!

The American Cancer Society and the Ad Council jointly released the Polyp Man colon cancer awareness campaign for March. Previous campaigns launched by the Ad Council include memorable slogans like "This is your brain on drugs" and icons like Smokey the Bear. Polyp Man is a conspicuous polyp that shows up wherever he is unwanted, which is everywhere. He is a nuisance until doctors haul him away. The simple takeaway message is: "Colon cancer. Get the test. Get the polyp. Get the cure."

The intention of the campaign is to change behavior - to get people and their doctors talking about the disease. Polyp Man grabs viewers' attention and cuts through barriers with the use of humor. You can view the ads at the American Cancer Society's website of www.cancer.org.  A shortcut to the specific page is  Once you've selected an ad to view, do a right click on the small TV screen and you can zoom to full screen. There is also a Polyp Man screen saver that you can quickly download or send to a friend.

The Ad Council mailed materials to media outlets across the nation in late January. Ad Council staff will work with American Cancer Society public relations specialists through March to secure placement of campaign materials. This is an earned media campaign and will not include paid advertising.

5) See our PowerPoint on colorectal cancer control. Some slight changes have been made from the previous version provided to you last year. We have included slides with an x-ray of a colon with polyps, an FOBT card showing a positive reaction, illustrations of a sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy, and updated ACS and DHSS agency logos.

6) You are reminded we have a supply of an excellent 8 minute video tape, "Screening for Colorectal Cancer - An Easy Step to Save Your Life" by the American Digestive Health Foundation. This video is intended for the general public and demonstrates through animation and testimonies of three patients that screening saves lives. We also have a supply of the CDC posters "No Symptoms" and "True or False?". Simply reply by e-mail or give me a call if you would like one or more copies of the free video or posters, or if we can help you with developing media releases, PowerPoints or other materials tailored to your community.

7) Lastly, it's coming up on National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month - - Have you gotten your greeting cards to remind your friends and family that are age 50+ to get their regular screening? Seriously, there are electronic greeting cards available at no cost from Blue Mountain at http://free.bluemountain.com/cdb/AWA/HTH/.  When you access this site, you will note cards for a number of health related topics, including breast cancer and skin cancer. Just scroll down the page and you will find a choice of four cards for colorectal cancer ("Important Bottoms of the World" is my choice). These cards can be personalized and you can add you own words in the greetings.

Additional information and resource materials are available from the CDC at www.cdc.gov/cancer/screenforlife and from the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org.

It can be embarrassing to talk about the colon and rectum, DON'T LET PEOPLE DIE FROM EMBARRASSMENT !! Remember the tagline of the Polyp Man ad campaign "Get the test. Get the polyp. Get the cure."


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last updated: 10/27/08
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