Messages on recycling kiosks throughout the city warn residents not to ignore the signs and symptoms.
Blood in Your Stool is Not Normal. Unexplained Weight Loss is Not Normal. 1 in 23 Americans will be Diagnosed with Colon Cancer. These are the messages that the Colon Cancer Coalition shared with Boston-residents August and September, 2018.
The Colon Cancer Coalition partnered with PVBLIC Foundation to place these messages on recycling kiosks throughout Boston. Messages emphasize the importance of symptom awareness and knowing your body in order to find disease at the earliest stages to save lives. Money for this campaign was raised at the 2017 Get Your Rear in Gear® 5K run/walk held annually in South Boston.
“Colon and rectal cancer rates are increasing in adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, before screening is recommended,” says Anne Carlson, president of the Colon Cancer Coalition. “Through this unconventional message placement, we hope to draw the attention of Boston residents and visitors to the signs and symptoms of this disease. It is extremely important that individuals talk with their doctor about changes in normal body functions and also that physicians listen to their patients and take these warning signs seriously.”
“When my brother-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer in his 30s my family had no idea that colon cancer could happen to young people. We have since learned that this disease is on the rise in young adults. I want to spread that knowledge and increase symptom awareness,” says Brian Shelly, Kingston-resident and local event director for Get Your Rear in Gear – Boston. “My hope is this campaign will increase awareness about the signs and symptoms and encourage all people, regardless of age, to be knowledgeable about their bodies and be screened for colon cancer. By talking openly about colon health and the importance of colon cancer screening, more lives can be saved.”
Since 2011, the Colon Cancer Coalition has granted over $400,000 for screening and other programs in the Boston-area, additional recent programs include:
- The Family Van at Harvard Medical School – adding education and screening options to the Family Van program to help reach underserved minority communities in the Boston-area.
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health – a data review to develop policy, program improvements, and messaging campaigns targeted at underserved or at-risk populations.
- Southcoast Center for Cancer Care – colon cancer prevention and education initiatives reaching underserved populations, including FIT screening tests, a 6-week nutrition program, educational training for community health workers, and a colon cancer survivorship celebration.
- Boston Health Care for the Homeless – enhancing efforts behind colorectal cancer screening and detection, focusing on patient and provider education and tools to help make screening successful for the homeless population.