Collaborating to Conquer Colorectal Cancer: Fulfilling the Promise of Prevention


drawing of human torsoColorectal cancer is a common cancer and common cause of death, but it does not have to be. Effective strategies are available to reduce the burden of this disease, but these opportunities remain mostly underutilized.

It is estimated that in 2005 over 145,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and over 55,000 will die from it. Screening reduces deaths from the disease, perhaps by as much as 60% or more, and, in addition, screening can actually prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps before they become cancer. Yet, less than half of U.S. adults receive recommended screening tests.

Two modifiable risk factors, physical inactivity and excess body weight, are reported to account for about a fourth to a third of colon cancers, and effective community interventions are available to help people increase their physical activity and change their diets. Yet, obesity and inactivity are common problems, and these effective tools are not commonly used.

Increasing awareness of this potential to reduce the burden of colorectal cancer through screening and modifying risk factors is the first step in fulfilling the promise of prevention. Surveillance of the disease, risk factors, screening and interventions is critical for planning community programs and for monitoring their progress. Conquering colorectal cancer requires multi-faceted collaborations among public health departments, health care practitioners, employers, hospitals and community organizations to implement effective community-based interventions.

Strategies that model the synergism of these partners will be discussed in this program. Our case will be Frederick County, Maryland, where creative and effective interventions are the tools and partnership is the foundation of a healthy community.


This program will seek to increase awareness of community strategies for screening and the prevention of colorectal cancer.


  • Describe the potential for colorectal cancer prevention through screening.
  • Identify two effective community interventions to increase screening.
  • Identify two modifiable risk factors for colorectal cancer.
  • Identify three effective community interventions to modify risk factors.
  • Describe an effective surveillance strategy to monitor progress in interventions, screening, risk factors, and disease burden.
  • Describe a comprehensive cancer control strategy to create effective collaborations.


Public health leaders, managers, and professionals from local and state health departments, hospitals, community-based health organizations, boards of health, private physician practices , federal agencies, academic institutions and others who are concerned about reducing the incidence of colorectal cancer through community interventions to modify risk factors and increase screening.

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