March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March 12, 2018


March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month;
Take the Pledge for ‘80% by 2018 and Beyond’

SOMERVILLE – The Somerset County Board of Freeholders and the Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition, along with its partners, are encouraging residents to get screened for colorectal cancer and to make good food and lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.

A proclamation declaring March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month was presented at the Feb. 27 Somerset County freeholders’ meeting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer affects both men and women, is the second leading cancer-related killer in the United States and is the third most common cancer in men and women.

“Please help us spread the word that colorectal cancer is preventable and outcomes are better when cancer is found at an early stage,” said Freeholder Patricia Walsh, public health and safety liaison.

An information table with literature about colon cancer is in the lobby of the county administration building, located at 20 Grove St. in Somerville, through March 30. You can pick up a Fiber-Fridays calendar, with tips on how to add delicious fiber-rich foods to your diet, as well as resources to help you take charge of your health. An online version of the calendar with interactive links can be found at

“Screening for colon cancer has been proven to save lives, which is especially important since in its early stages there are no symptoms,” said Freeholder Walsh, “yet many people don’t get tested because they don’t believe they are at risk, are not aware of available testing options or they believe they can’t afford the cost of being tested.

“Starting in March, we hope to enlist all RCDC members and community members at large to join us in this prevention effort,” she said. “We encourage residents age 50 and above, or younger people who have risk factors and a family history of colon cancer, to learn about the importance of screenings and lifestyle choices.”

Several screening methods are available, including take-home options. Many public and private insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening and local resources are available to help people who are uninsured.

The RCDC is encouraging residents to add fiber-rich foods to their diet through its “Fiber Matters: Fiber Fridays” initiative by designating Fridays during March as a jumping-off point to a more healthful lifestyle.

In addition, the RCDC and its partners have taken the pledge to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates by supporting the “80% by 2018 & Beyond” initiative, led by the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, an organization co-founded by the ACS and CDC.

The pledge is a shared goal to have 80 percent of adults age 50 and above regularly screened for colorectal cancer. More than 500 organizations already have signed the pledge to make this goal a priority. Achieving this goal would prevent 277,000 cases of colorectal cancer and 203,000 deaths by 2030.  To be part of this initiative, you can take the pledge at

The RCDC, through its multi-year educational campaign and working with health care providers, has promoted projects to increase the number of people going for early-detection cancer screenings in Morris and Somerset counties for close to a decade.

For additional information on free educational programs offered in both counties during the month of March, contact RCDC Coordinator Lucille Talbot at (908) 203-6077 or

You can follow the Somerset County Department of Health on Twitter at for additional tips during the month of March.

Somerset County residents can learn if they are eligible for low-cost or reduced-cost medical care, including exams and screenings, by calling Zufall Health Center in Somerville at (908) 526-2335. (Se habla español.)

The Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Office of Cancer Control and Prevention, and is administered by the Somerset County Department of Health.

For more information, to become a member or to learn more about available cancer resources, screening locations, dates, times and eligibility, contact RCDC Public Health Consultant Lucille Y-Talbot at (908) 203-6077 or

To stay up to date with Somerset County events and information, sign up for free email alerts at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.