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Lourdes Health System unites with the American Cancer Society in fight against colorectal cancer

Lourdes colorectal surgeon Dr. David Berg (right), along with Lourdes gastroenterologist Dr. Brian Berberian, sign the pledge to help the American Cancer Society achieve colorectal cancer screening in 80 percent of eligible patients by 2018.

Lourdes colorectal surgeon Dr. David Berg (right), along with Lourdes gastroenterologist Dr. Brian Berberian, sign the pledge to help the American Cancer Society achieve colorectal cancer screening in 80 percent of eligible patients by 2018.

Together with hundreds of health partners around the country, Lourdes Health System has pledged to help the American Cancer Society achieve colorectal cancer screening in 80 percent of eligible patients by 2018.

While some progress has been made when it comes to the number of Americans screened for colorectal cancer, more work needs to be done. The national percentage of adults 50 and older that are up-to-date with recommended colorectal cancer screening went from 56 percent in 2002 to 65 percent in 2010. In New Jersey, only 63.1 percent of adults age-eligible are up-to-date with colon cancer screenings.

“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem. Adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it. There are several screening options, including take home tests,” said Kristina Thomson, Senior Director of Health Systems for the American Cancer Society. “Colorectal cancer can be prevented or detected early through appropriate screening and tens of thousands of lives can be saved if we increase screening to reach 80 percent by 2018.”

Colorectal cancer is the nation’s third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths, but it can be prevented. Through proper colorectal cancer screening, doctors can find and remove hidden growths (called “polyps”) in the colon, before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether.

“Regular screening is the most powerful weapon in preventing colorectal cancer,” said Dr. David Berg, colorectal surgeon at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. “However, a significant percentage of the population is not getting tested. Through this pledge, we plan to take our resources to the next level in an even larger-scale effort to raise the rate of people being screened. I can’t stress enough how vitally important it is to be screened for colon cancer. Early detection saves lives.”

Lourdes’ commitment to the American Cancer Society’s 80 percent by 2018 program is a shared goal led by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, which was started by the American Cancer Society and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information about colorectal cancer screening, please visit www.cancer.org/colon or contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345. For more information about the 80 percent by 2018 initiative, visit www.nccrt.org.

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