Earlier Conversations About Colorectal Cancer Can Lead to On-Time Screenings

The statistics are scary. While rates of colorectal cancer in adults over age 50 have been decreasing steadily over the years, colorectal cancer is rising fast among the young – even affecting teenagers.

According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a person born in 1990 has twice the risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer than a person born in 1950 faced at a comparable age. The risk of rectal cancer? It’s four times higher.

Today, one in ten people diagnosed with colorectal cancer will be under the age of 50, about 13,500 cases annually. Because screening does not begin until age 50 for those with no family history of the disease, many of these early-age onset cases are late stage diagnoses and that much harder to treat.

Why is this happening? While there are obvious potential factors, the answer to “why” is phenomenally tricky to pin-point. But rest assured that some of the best physicians and researchers in the world are hard at work trying to put together the pieces of this complex puzzle. Many of these brilliant minds will be sharing their latest research and scientific breakthroughs the 4th Annual Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer (EAO-CRC) Summit in New York City this month. This singular event, founded and run by the Colon Cancer Foundation, brings together leading physicians and researchers with survivors, caregivers, and advocates in a uniquely interactive two-day course that will tackle the question of “why” head-on.

One of the myriad issues surrounding the alarming rise in EAO colorectal cancer cases is that of communication. Young people – and their physicians – simply aren’t talking enough about this disease! Their remains a stigma attached to colorectal cancer: that it is an “old man’s disease.” New research shows that this could not be farther from the truth. Colorectal cancer does not discriminate, and we need to start talking about it.

Fortunately, the EAO-CRC survivor community is full of passionate and determined people who are raising awareness by sharing their remarkable stories. One of these advocates is Stacy Hurt, Strategic Partnership Manager at the Colon Cancer Coalition. Here, Stacy tells her story and makes the case for the necessity of earlier conversations about this disease.

Colon Cancer Foundation (CCF): Tell us about your diagnosis.

Stacy Hurt (SH): I was diagnosed on my 44th birthday (September 17th, 2014) with Stage IV rectal cancer. A colonoscopy revealed an 11cm tumor in my rectum so large that the GI could not get the scope around it to view the rest of my colon.  He aborted the procedure and sent me for a PET/CT scan that revealed very aggressive cancer in my liver, both lungs, and lymph nodes; 27 places in total. The oncologist at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center was “hoping that I would just get a little bit of time with my family.” Chances of beating it were slim to none. After 55 chemotherapies, 2 surgeries, and SBRT radiation, I am NED (“no evidence of disease”).

CCF: Did you have symptoms that went unchecked or ignored by your physicians because of your young age?

SH: No – it was actually ME who ignored my symptoms. I had no history of colon cancer in my family. I am a lifelong athlete, very fit, non-smoker, with an overall healthy lifestyle. There was no reason to think that I would have cancer, yet alone colon cancer, which I thought was an “old man’s, obese person’s disease.” I just thought that the bright red blood in my stool was from internal hemorrhoids. With two young children (one of whom is severely disabled) and a robust career, going to the doctor was an inconvenience. My abdominal pain and fatigue became too much to bear, so I finally went. I am grateful for a thorough PCP who sent me for a colonoscopy. Colorectal cancer was the last thing anyone ever expected.

CCF: What will you tell your children, and when, about knowing the signs and symptoms of EAO-CRC?

SH: I was honest with my children from Day One of my diagnosis (even though my special needs son doesn’t understand). I have spoken at my older son’s middle school (grades 6, 7, and 8) about being in tune with your body and telling your parents or your doctor if ANYTHING is abnormal with your body; even if it’s something that you may be ashamed to talk about, like poop. Poop is as natural a part of your body as blood, and it tells a lot about how your body is functioning.

CCF: What do you think is the best way for CCF, CURE, and other organizations in this space to spread the word about EAO-CRC?

SH: We need to go where young adults are (on social media, college campuses, technology-oriented workplaces) and get a message out there.  Young people in general think they are invincible. I certainly did. I was in the prime of my life enjoying my family and my career. We all need to slow down, get OFF of our devices, and get ON to healthy habits. We have one body – we should do EVERYTHING we can to identify our risk factors of CRC and take charge of the ones we can control. And for people like me who were doing all of that and still got CRC, do NOT view a trip to the doctor as an “inconvenience” – view it as a once a year “tune up” for another 50,000 miles of enjoying life! One hour out of your day to see the doctor sure beats countless hours of chemotherapy, surgeries, pain, recovery, hospital stays, infection, tears, and turmoil.

Stacy Hurt, Stage IV rectal cancer survivor

For more information about the 4th Annual EAO-CRC Summit and to register:

http://www.coloncancerchallenge.org/about/eao-crc/

https://www.curetoday.com/advocacy/coloncancerchallenge/upcoming-conference-discusses-colon-cancer-in-young-adults

 

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15th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge Photo Gallery

The 15th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge rocked Randall’s Island on Sunday, March 25th. With twice as many participants as last year (and no snow!) we are excited to have cemented Randall’s Island and its iconic Icahn Stadium as the home of the Colon Cancer Challenge.

Our enthusiastic and dedicated participants raised over $57,000 to help us continue our mission of eradicating colorectal cancer through awareness, screening, prevention, and research.

Thank you to everyone who came out to join us!

CCF’s Once-in-a-Lifetime #GivingTuesday Opportunity!

Happy Giving Tuesday!

In case there is anything left in your wallet after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, today is the day you will be bombarded by every non-profit organization you have ever supported. And we all need your money. But here’s why you should give to US, and here are four fun ways to do it – including a true once-in-a-lifetime giving opportunity!

Why CCF:

  1. We are truly on the front lines of the battle against early-age onset colorectal cancer (EAO-CRC). We were the first organization to dedicate a summit solely to EAO-CRC, and we are prepping for the 4th Annual EAO-CRC Summit right now.
  2. In an increasingly competitive colon cancer non-profit space, we are innovators. Our partnership with Bilal Powell; our Protect Your Butt campaign; and our All-Star Experience are just some of the exciting ways we are raising awareness for colorectal cancer – and we are having fun doing it!
  3. We are there for YOU. Unlike larger organizations, we have the flexibility and genuine desire to connect with our supporters. We have adapted events to better suit our community of survivors and their families and our annual EAO-CRC Summit agenda is always designed with input from survivors.

Ready to whip out that credit card one more time? We appreciate it!

Here are four ways to give:

  1. Keep it simple. Make a quick and easy donation on our brand-spanking-new giving site!
  2. Give yourself the opportunity of a lifetime: enter to win the actual custom-designed cleats that Bilal Powell will wear for the My Cause My Cleats game in Week 13!
  3. RSVP for our the 2017 All-Star Experience, this Thursday in Floral Park, NY! It is going to be a heck of a great time and we hope you will join us.
  4. Run with Team Colon Cancer Challenge! We are now accepting applications for the 2018 NYC Half Marathon!

Thank you for taking the time to learn about CCF and support us.

Have we mentioned how amazing Bilal Powell’s cleats are? Because they are:

Will YOU Win the Best Seats in the House?

TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVEN, SIX

We are counting down the days to the most amazing sweepstakes in CCF history. There are only six days to go until we announce the winners of the Best Seats in the House! For just $10 you can throw your hat in the ring to win a VIP game day experience for two including a meet-and-greet with New York Jets running back Bilal Powell himself! A second lucky winner will snag a ball and jersey personally signed by Bilal.

And as if that is not enough, Bilal will ALSO be giving away his one-of-a-kind, custom-designed cleats that he will wear on Week 13! Click here to enter!

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are so grateful to Bilal for taking the My Cause My Cleats initiative to the next level by choosing to partner with us. If you haven’t already, watch the video below to see Bilal’s visit to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he met with colon and rectal cancer survivors and visited an endoscopy suite. Losing a close friend to colon cancer at age 36 changed Bilal Powell’s life – and now he will change the lives of so many others for the better through his work with us.

Thank you, Bilal, and all of our supporters – we could not do what we do without you!

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See the Photos: Bilal Powell Meets Colon Cancer Survivors and Launches Partnership with CCF!

It is a great thing when a good person with a platform takes a stand for an important cause. Here at CCF HQ, we are over the moon about our recently announced partnership and Crowdrise campaign with New York Jets star running back Bilal Powell. Bilal has chosen to participate in the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” initiative to honor a close friend who passed away from colon cancer at age 36 – yet another early-age onset colorectal cancer (EAO-CRC) casualty. Seeing an opportunity to make a difference with “My Cause My Cleats,” Bilal did his research and decided to reach out to us, as CCF has led the charge against the rising rate of early-age onset colorectal cancer (EAO-CRC) patients for the past several years.

But Bilal is not stopping at cleats. Yes, he will wear a one-of-a-kind, custom-designed pair of cleats for colon cancer awareness on Week 13. But he will also give away these cleats and other amazing, once-in-a-lifetime prizes (which can be yours for a mere $10 entry fee!) in the coming weeks.

Bilal also decided to make a visit to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, to meet colorectal cancer survivors and medical staff, and to see an endoscopy suite. As the photos in this gallery attest, we are so fortunate to have this gracious budding advocate together with us in this fight. We can’t wait to see where our partnership goes from here.

So, if you’re a Jets fan, or you know a Jets fan, or you just want to throw your hat in the ring to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, check out Bilal Powell’s Crowdrise campaign! And please share the link far and wide! Winners will be announced soon!

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2017 TCS NYC Marathon Photo Gallery: A Record-Breaking Year for CCF!

28 team members. 26.2 miles. Over $128,000 raised.

This year’s TCS NYC Marathon was a record-breaker for Team Colon Cancer Challenge, and we could not be more grateful to this spirited, motivated, and dedicated group of athletes. Together, our team has raised close to $130,000 – that’s almost DOUBLE our original fundraising goal! We are humbled and proud to have been represented by such an enthusiastic group of runners, survivors, caregivers, and supporters.

Why is Team Colon Cancer Challenge a vital part of what we do here at CCF? Team Colon Cancer Challenge is about more than running, more than fundraising. We consider our team members to be our grassroots ambassadors. Pavement-pounding awareness-raisers. We can calculate the miles, we can calculate the funds. But what is immeasurable is perhaps what is most valuable: spreading the word. Telling people why you have joined Team Colon Cancer Challenge and communicating why this cause is important to you and should be important to everyone.

During his marathon training this year, Team CCC and Team Luc member Anthony Gollan received the following text from a friend:

Hi Anthony… hope you are well. Remember 3 or 4 years ago, you were involved in an awareness campaign for colon cancer? Well, even though I listened and remembered everything, I put off getting a colonoscopy because I wanted to avoid the discomfort and hassle. Since the fundraiser, I periodically play back the facts in my head. I finally listened, and had my first colonoscopy last week. The experience wasn’t bad at all. The doctor removed two polyps. One large and one small. Today, [I] received the pathology report. Turns out that they weren’t run of the mill polyps, and were, in fact, pre-cancerous. Doctor said I don’t need to worry, but that I do need to have another colonoscopy in a year, before he can give me the all-clear. If it weren’t for you planting those nagging facts in my head, I almost certainly wouldn’t have given a thought to getting checked. Instead of being 6 years late, I likely would not have seen a doctor until I had symptoms… at which time it may have been too late. So, I want to thank you for caring enough to be involved with that organization, and for sharing life saving information. Information is power!

As long as colorectal cancer remains the #2 cancer killer, we need our relentless runners in their blue shirts. And we cannot thank the 28 members of this year’s team enough for their incredible accomplishments before, during, and after the Marathon.

Stephanie, John, Robby, Matthew, Anthony, Michael, Anthony, Brian and Deb, Dan, Gretchen, Ceara, Scott, Thomas, Diane, Ian, Hillary, Cathy, Lou, Frank, Jerry, Mark, David, Tamara, Jason, and Amy: THANK YOU. Together, you broke records, achieved milestones, and saved lives.

We are still accepting donations! Help us honor this incredible team by making a donation today. Can we break $130K? We think so!

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NEW YORK JETS BILAL POWELL TEAMS UP WITH COLON CANCER FOUNDATION® TO HELP RAISE AWARENESS AND SAVE LIVES

Running Back To Support Foundation Efforts Through Survivor Visits, Fundraising and
Special In-Game Tribute

NEW YORK – New York Jets running back Bilal Powell and the Colon Cancer Foundation® announced today a new partnership aimed at defeating colon cancer and its devastating effects. Powell will help bring awareness to the disease, as well as generate funds in support of the Foundation’s prevention and translational research programs.

Bilal Powell New York Jet

Earlier this week, Powell visited Mt. Sinai Hospital of New York to spend time with cancer survivors and learn more about their respective experiences. During the visit, one patient – a lifelong fan of the team – provided creative input around the custom cleats Powell will wear as part of the league’s “My Cleats, My Cause” platform during Week 13. The design will pay tribute to those impacted by colorectal cancer, including Powell’s close friend who recently succumbed to the disease at the age of 36.

“This is an important issue that many people have little or no knowledge about until it’s too late,” Powell said. “The Colon Cancer Foundation is doing some excellent work in the fight against this ugly disease and I hope that together we can bring about awareness and make real change to help prevent future heartbreak and suffering.”

“We could not be more thrilled to have Bilal’s support,” said Cindy Borassi, Executive Director of the Colon Cancer Foundation. “Colon and rectal cancer can be stopped if people are aware, talk to their doctors and get screened. Fans across the nation can make a huge difference in saving lives and defeating colorectal cancer. We are so excited about this new partnership!”

This morning, Powell launched a Crowdrise campaign to directly benefit the Foundation’s commitment to spreading the word, finding a cure and providing optimal care for those most affected by the disease. Beginning today, supporters who donate $10 or more will also be entered into a raffle for the chance to win:
• Autographed memorabilia
• VIP game day experience and meet-and-greet with Powell (Sunday, Dec. 3)
• Pair of autographed, custom cleats worn by Powell during the Week 13 home game

For more information about the foundation or to donate to Powell’s campaign, visit www.crowdrise.com/bestseatsinthehouse

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About the Colon Cancer Foundation
The Colon Cancer Foundation (coloncancerchallenge.org) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization registered in New York state and listed by the Federal IRS as a public charity dedicated to reducing colorectal cancer incidence and death. Its mission includes supporting research into the causes and cures for colorectal cancer, increasing public awareness, educating the public about the importance of early detection and forming strategic partnerships in the fight against colorectal cancer.

About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is in the “Honor Roll” of best hospitals in America, ranked No. 15 nationally in the 2016-2017 “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report. The Mount Sinai Hospital is also ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals in Geriatrics, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Ear, Nose & Throat, and is in the top 50 in four other specialties. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 10 nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report in “Best Children’s Hospitals.”

For more information, visit www.mountsinai.org, or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

CONTACT:
Michael Chavez Booth
M&C Saatchi LA Sport & Entertainment
On behalf of Bilal Powell
mike.chavezbooth@mcsaatchi-la.com
619.757.6392

1st Rally Against Colon Cancer

Thanks to each of you who turned out for our 1st Rally Against Colon Cancer on October 15! Despite the misty weather we had a great morning.

SPECIAL THANKS to Mercedes-Benz of MassapequaBMW of Freeport and MINI of Freeport for hosting the event, Starbucks for providing the cappuccinos, The French Workshop for providing an awesome brunch, The Phoenix Group for providing LIVE coverage of the event, Triple Crown Sports for the memorabilia and of course Miss Long Island 2018 Brianna Siaca.

AND a GIANT thanks to ALL our attendees and donors. We raised close to $4,000 in just three hours to support the Colon Cancer Foundation’s life-saving public awareness, prevention and research programs. Imagine what we can do on a sunny day!

Our mission is simple – save lives by telling as many people as possible about the nation’s second leading cancer killer. But you would be surprised how difficult and expensive it is to talk to the 23 million Americans aged 50 and older who haven’t been screened. Let’s make 2018 the year we tell all 23 million that the best test is the one that gets done – right now.

Please visit our website for more information on our upcoming events including the 2017 Blue For You Experience.

AND look for us on October 26 at the Main Event in Farmingdale! Stay tuned for more events on Long Island.

Meet Our 2017 TCS NYC Marathon Team: Jason Hanrahan

This post is a first for our runner spotlight series. Jason Hanrahan was lucky enough to win the lottery! No, not that lottery – the NYC Marathon lottery. But just Jason started his marathon training, a close friend was diagnosed with colon cancer and Jason decided to run the NYC Marathon as a member of Team Colon Cancer Challenge. So while he may not be sitting on a life-changing pile of cash, he has chosen to change lives by raising cash for the Colon Cancer Foundation.

Here is Jason’s story.

Jason Hanrahan

To my luck, I was selected to run the 2017 New York City Marathon via the lottery. As I started training for the race, one of my best friends from high school, Eric Augur, started battling colon cancer.

At age 42, Eric went to the doctor for a standard physical since it had been two years since his last one. He had routine blood work, which showed he was severely anemic. The doctor was concerned and ordered a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. Shortly thereafter, they discovered a cancerous tumor in his descending colon. As he went in for pre-op scans before surgery, the scans revealed that the cancer had spread into his liver. Eric was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. He had to endure three months of chemo to shrink the tumors, surgery to remove 40% of his liver and colon, and endured setbacks that resulted in 20 days in the hospital. He is one of the toughest people I know!! I am HAPPY to report that at this point he is healthy enough to start his final three-month round of chemo to ensure they neutralize all the cancer. His outlook is extremely positive.

Eric and his family (wife Dana, sons Trevor and Quinn, daughter Elise) are constantly on my mind. I did not think it made much sense to run this race just to finish. I want to honor him and raise money to support the Colon Cancer Foundation. I have run one marathon before (Marine Corp Marathon) in which I ran to support injured Marine “Warriors”. This will allow me to run for another injured “Warrior”. Please consider donating to this great cause in support of my friend and to increase awareness of colon cancer.

We are so grateful to Jason for joining our team to honor Eric and raise money and awareness for this cause. Thanks to Jason and the rest of Team Colon Cancer Challenge, we are $50,000 OVER our original goal and have cruised past $120,000 raised! To learn more about Jason and support his fundraising efforts, click here.

Meet Our 2017 TCS NYC Marathon Team: Ceara Kirchner

With just a few weeks to go before the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon, Team Colon Cancer Challenge continues to rock! Our incredible fundraisers have blazed past our initial goal, taking us over $114,000 and keeping us firmly in the top ten overall NYC Marathon fundraising teams. Congrats to you all, and thank you!

One of our amazing runners, Ceara Kirchner, is new to Team CCCF this year and running her first marathon. Ceara shares her story of how hereditary colon cancer has affected her family on her fundraising page and has given us permission to share it here, with our entire community.

One of the cornerstones of our work here at the Colon Cancer Foundation is raising awareness of and supporting research into hereditary colorectal cancer. “Know your family history” is a common phrase at all our events. Our founder, Dr. Thomas Weber, is one of the leading voices on this topic, speaking all over the world to help advance prevention, screening, and treatment protocols.

Unfortunately, Ceara’s story is one that is all too common. But as she says, hereditary colon cancer is a “preventable, treatable, and beatable disease when caught early.” Ceara has already had her first colonoscopy, at age 30. If more people can follow Ceara’s example, be aware of their family history and proactive in their own care, we can change the future of hereditary colorectal cancer.

Ceara Kirchner

Here is Ceara, in her own words:

Earlier this year I found a list I created 10 years ago with some goals I had for my 20s. On this list was “run a marathon”. My first thought was “well, that didn’t happen in your 20s”. My second thought was “what phase was I in when I wrote this list?” Like so many others, much of my life has been broken into phases because of Colon Cancer.

The phase before my Grandma, Faye Kirchner, was diagnosed with it (during high school), the phase during which she courageously battled it, and the phase after she lost that battle at age 70 (during college.) The phase before my Dad, Jody Kirchner, was diagnosed with stage 4 Colon Cancer at age 48 (during college graduation.) The 2.5 years of laughs, chemo rooms, cries, hospitals, hugs, I love yous, doctor offices, adventures, waiting for results, and creating memories in which he battled with strength, wisdom, humor, love, and regret. You see, one of the many challenges of watching someone battle colon cancer and I’m sure being the one battling colon cancer, is knowing that it is preventable, treatable, and beatable disease when caught early. There are screenings, symptoms, and family history indicators to help catch it early and if you do, the survival rates are much higher. The phase after my Dad passed away at age 50 has been full of grief, navigating life without a loved one, getting my first colonoscopy, lots of “what-ifs”, and new adventures and beginnings.

This year has been the start of a new phase. It’s been 5 years since we lost my Dad, it’s been my first year in a new decade (30!), it will be 10 years since we lost Grandma Faye, it will be the year I venture into married life, and now the year of my first full marathon! I’ve decided it’s time to mark off that bucket list item (albeit, a year late) and I can’t imagine doing it for a better cause.

In full disclosure, my Dad hated running and I’m pretty sure the only time I saw him run was when he saw a snake but I know he would think this was pretty cool (and crazy!) I’m so proud of his fight and the person he was and I’m so happy to run this race in his and my grandma’s memory. I’m just hoping 2 of my favorite guardian angels are able to watch with a proud smile and maybe give me an extra push when needed on race day.

Thank you for taking your time to read my story, regardless of if you are able to donate or not, please encourage a love one to get screened and watch for symptoms and give them an extra hug, because you never know what the future will bring.

A huge thank you to Ceara for helping raise awareness of hereditary colon cancer. To support Ceara, click here!