Importance of cancer screening stressed

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Dr. Durado Brooks, American Cancer Society vice president, spoke at a meeting with the UOG Cancer Coalition to talk about how organizations can increase cancer screenings among employees.

Cancer affects everyone, whether it be right at home or even at work. The first step to battling the fight against cancer is early detection.

That is why organizations such as the University of Guam have taken the initiative to increase cancer screenings for their employees, and are now encouraging others to follow suit.

Based on data from the Guam Cancer Registry, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths on Guam and affects both women and men ages 50 and older.

Research has shown that regular screening and early detection can boost survival rates among those affected. However, colorectal cancer screening rates for Guam has a rate of 44.2 percent, far lower than our mainland counterparts of 67.3 percent.

Dr. Durado Brooks, American Cancer Society vice president, spoke at a meeting at the University of Guam with the UOG Cancer Coalition to talk about how organizations can increase cancer screenings among their employees.

“It is an important issue on Guam as well. When I was preparing for this trip and looking at some of the data, between 2007-2015, more than 15 percent of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer here on Guam are under the age of 50. That is actually higher than that of the states which stands at about 13 percent. So it is a significant problem here as well as stateside,” he said.

Shifting the focus and getting people comfortable on the topic of their colon health is important, says Dr. Brooks. As an initiative to push smaller communities to increase screening rates to 80 percent, the American Cancer Society offers grants for such tests to be taken. Back in March, the University of Guam signed on to the 80 percent pledge.

Colorectal cancer screening is not only a way to find the disease, but it can also help prevent it. Dr. Brooks ended the meeting by calling on the university to take the lead and help move this work forward to hopefully all employers on the Island.

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