St. Joseph’s/Candler, LCRP join nationwide initiative to reduce colon cancer deaths

The 80% by 2018 project can prevent up to 200,000 deaths from colorectal cancer

St. Joseph’s/Candler and the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion have joined a national initiative to prevent colorectal cancer deaths. 80% by 2018 is striving to prevent more than 200,000 deaths from colorectal cancer, and St. Joseph’s/Candler is doing its part to contribute to that astonishing number.

Dr. Alan Lord
Dr. Alan Lord, colon and rectal surgeon with Metro Surgical, PC

The goal is that 80 percent of eligible adults aged 50 and older begin regular screenings for colorectal cancer by the end of 2018.

80% by 2018 was started to promote and increase efforts for early screening and detection of colorectal cancer by The National Colorectal Cancer Round Table (NCCRT). NCCRT is a 1,500-member group made up of hospitals, cancer centers, doctors, survivor groups and others.

Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, says Dr. Alan Lord, colon and rectal surgeon with Metro Surgical, PC. That’s due to screenings and a healthy lifestyle. But for the uninsured and underinsured getting access to screening is often difficult.

“Colon cancer is the one cancer that is almost completely preventable – either by finding the polyp before it has a chance to turn into cancer or finding the cancer before it has a chance to metastasize,” Dr. Lord says. “One of the biggest impacts that we have as physicians in general is screening patients appropriately and finding things before they become a problem.”

Related Article: Don’t fear the colonoscopy

Working with St. Mary’s Health Center and Good Samaritan Clinic, the SJ/C community outreach coordinator and LCRP gastroenterology multi-disciplinary team formalized an algorithm to care for community members, especially the under- and uninsured. We are providing education, screening with FIT (fecal immunochemical test) kits and promoting healthy lifestyles. We also have services for tobacco cessation, exercise and nutrition optimization programs offered to the community.

“Through this collaboration, we are able to screen and diagnosis patients with abnormal findings in an earlier stage thus reducing the occurrence of late stage cancers and deaths related to colorectal cancer,” says Dana Coleman, BSN, RN, OCN, clinical special services manager, oncology nurse navigator and melanographer at the LCRP. “Patients could then start making healthier decisions and lifestyle modifications to improve their health.”

Dana Coleman
Dana Coleman, BSN, RN, OCN, clinical special services manager, oncology nurse navigator and melanographer at the LCRP

In 2017 in the U.S., an estimated 135,430 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and about 50,260 died from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. It is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women. Research also indicates fewer than 6 in 10 American adults (or 58 percent) aged 50 to 75 years of age were up to date on colon screenings.

Gastrointestinal disease management is a specialty healthcare referral that has increase cost that those without health coverage simply cannot afford, Coleman says.

“Eliminating the barrier to accessing this specialty services allows SJ/C to fulfill our mission of ‘Rooted in God’s love, we treat illness and promote wellness for all people,’” Coleman says. “Also, it equals savings in dollars by reducing the need for cancer care and treatment for those individuals.”

The 80% by 2018 initiative will continue through Dec. 31, 2018. NCCRT has plans to continue the project beyond 2018. SJ/C also will continue its efforts in promoting screenings and education. Additionally, the annual Get Your Rear in Gear race every March will continue to raise funds to purchase FIT kits and further screening as needed.

If you are interested in any of our colon screening services, call Dana Coleman or Shelia Lowe at 819-7248.

  • St. Joseph's Hospital Campus: 11705 Mercy Blvd., Savannah, GA 31419, (p) 912-819-4100
  • Candler Hospital Campus: 5353 Reynolds St., Savannah, GA 31405, (p) 912-819-6000
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St.Joseph's Hospital Campus: 912-819-4100

Candler Hospital Campus: 912-819-6000