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Home > Leadership > Mayor > News Room > Press Releases > Buffalo In The Fight Against Cancer

Buffalo In The Fight Against Cancer

Buffalo’s largest healthcare systems join major national effort to save lives from colorectal cancer by 2018 through increased screening

March 1, 2016 – With a swipe of a pen, Buffalo’s largest healthcare systems made history today as they announced their commitment to implement changes within their individual organizations that will increase colorectal cancer screening in Buffalo. To date, no other city has united this many health organizations around an initiative to fight colorectal cancer.

The national percentage of adults 50 and older that are up to date with recommended colorectal cancer screening has increased from 56 percent in 2002 to 65 percent in 2010. In New York State, 69.3 percent have been screened; and in Erie County, that number is 71.7 percent. By focusing on target audiences – newly insured, financially challenged, insured procrastinators/rationalizers, African Americans, and Hispanics – Erie County is in a good position to achieve 80 percent screened for colorectal cancer by the year 2018.

Today’s announcement celebrates the Buffalo health community’s commitment to achieve 80 percent by 2018; a shared goal led by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT). The Roundtable was started by the American Cancer Society and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1997.

“Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives and I’m pleased to be part of an initiative that could save the lives of so many people in the City of Buffalo,” said City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “Our city’s economic revival is only as healthy as the people who live, work and invest here and today I ask all city residents to help us work toward the shared goal of 80% of adults aged 50 and older being regularly screed for colorectal cancer by 2018.  I also thank the American Cancer Society for its commitment to further strengthening the health of our community by spearheading this effort that brought together public health organizations and hospital officials to sign a pledge in support of improvements to colon cancer.”

“We don’t get too many chances to definitively, effectively prevent cancer before it develops, but colon cancer screening is one of them,” said Candace S. Johnson, PhD, President & CEO of Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “It’s important for every one of us to be aware of our own risk for developing colorectal cancer and to get screened as appropriate, and so we’re proud to stand with the American Cancer Society and all our partners in support of this pioneering effort to keep Western New York healthy.”

“Catholic Health and Catholic Medical Partners are committed to improving the health of our community, and getting more people screened for colorectal cancer saves lives – not only among the patients we care for, but among our associates as well,” said Brian J. D’Arcy, Senior Vice President Medical Affairs/Chief Medical Officer for Catholic Health. “From targeted programs in our hospitals, health centers and doctors’ offices, to associate health initiatives aimed at increasing screening rates, we join with the American Cancer Society and our colleagues throughout the region to support the 80% by 2018 campaign and reduce the number of colorectal cancers deaths in our community.”

“As the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America and the third most common cancer among men and women, this initiative is integral in helping detect and prevent colon cancer. Kaleida Health is committed to reach the 80% by 18 goal,” said Kenneth Snyder, MD, PhD, vice president of physician quality at Kaleida Health.”

"We're proud to be part of this initiative to raise awareness and encourage our members to be screened to combat colorectal cancer, " stated Richard Vienne, D. O., vice president and chief medical officer with Univera Healthcare.

“There are several barriers to colorectal cancer screening including lack of understanding, patient fear and anxiety about colonoscopy, and other competing health care and prevention priorities," said John R. Fudyma, MD, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, UBMD Internal Medicine. "This initiative allows us to raise the community awareness of the benefits of screening while we simultaneously challenge primary care provider teams to develop new and innovative models that will reduce the barriers to screening.”

“Independent Health applauds the American Cancer Society for their 80% by 2018 initiative and bringing so many organizations together to reach the common goal of having more Western New Yorkers screened for colorectal cancer,” said Thomas Foels, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer at Independent Health. “Colorectal cancer is highly preventable, detectable and treatable, and it’s our collective mission to continue to educate the public that this is not only a necessary screening but almost always a free preventive service.”

“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem; and today, Buffalo’s health systems have made an unprecedented commitment to increase colorectal cancer screening rates,” said Richard Wender, MD, chief cancer control officer for the American Cancer Society. “Working together to increase screening will ultimately prevent lives from being needlessly lost to colorectal cancer.”

“80% by 2018” is a NCCRT initiative in which over 650 organizations to date have committed to substantially reducing colorectal cancer as a major public health problem and are working toward the shared goal of 80% of adults aged 50 and older being regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. when men and women are combined, and a cause of considerable suffering among more than 134,000 adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year in the U.S. When adults get screened for colorectal cancer, it can be detected early at a stage when treatment is most likely to be successful, and in some cases, it can be prevented through the detection and removal of precancerous polyps. According to a study co-authored by American Cancer Society epidemiologist Ahmedin Jemal, if we can achieve 80% by 2018, 277,000 cases and 203,000 colorectal cancer deaths would be prevented by 2030.

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% by 2018 initiative, visit www.nccrt.org.

About the American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. We're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.