State effort urges screening for Hawaiʻi’s 2nd highest cancer killer: colon cancer
A new public service announcement effort encourages adults 45 to 75 years old to get screened for colorectal cancer — the second leading cancer killer in Hawai’i, according to the state Department of Health.
The “Get Screened Hawai’i” campaign launched in March to mark Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, a news release said. It will run through June and includes radio, digital, social media, print and mall advertisements that help people learn how and when to get screened.
Danette Wong Tomiyasu, state deputy director of Health Resources, urged men and women to catch up on cancer treatments immediately.
“Postponing screening visits may delay life-saving treatment,” she said in the release. “We are encouraging everyone to call their healthcare provider to schedule their overdue screenings.”
Tomiyasu said healthcare facilities have protocols in place that ensure safe access to services amid the pandemic.
About 700 people are diagnosed with colon cancer and 225 people die from the disease each year, according to the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center Hawai’i Tumor Registry.
Cancer survivor and advocate George Steward said early treatment saved his life.
“As a colon cancer survivor, I strongly urge people to get screened for colon cancer,” he said. “I’m here today because screening found my cancer early enough that treatment was effective.”
Colon cancer screening tests can also find pre-cancerous polyps that can be removed before they turn into cancer.
There are several options for colon cancer screening such as stool tests, colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and computed tomography (CT) colonography, the release said. People should meet with their doctors to find out which test is appropriate for their situation.
While routinely recommended for everyone aged 45-75, those older than 75 may still choose to be screened and should talk to a healthcare provider for individualized guidance.
Learn more about colon cancer, screening recommendations and options by visiting the campaign website.