ALBANY, N.Y. -- (February 24, 2015) – In observance of March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP), the region’s largest health system – in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health Cancer Services Program (CSP) of Albany and Rensselaer Counties, and major Capital Region businesses – including Price Chopper, CDTA and theCentral Avenue BID (Business Improvement District) – is urging everyone to “Go Blue.”
As part of the “Main Streets Go Blue” campaign, Cancer Services partnerships across New York are working with towns and businesses throughout the month of March to raise awareness about this preventable cancer by lighting their main streets blue, and hosting screening events for men and women age 50 and older who do not have health insurance.
Colorectal cancer is a cancer that begins in the colon or rectum and is one of the most common cancers among New Yorkers. It is estimated that one in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime.
“Each year in New York State, nearly 10,000 people develop colorectal cancer, and more than 3,000 New Yorkers die from this disease,” states Arthur L. Sunkin, MD, Chief of Medical Oncology/Hematology, St. Peter’s Health Partners Cancer Care Program.
“However, a large number of New Yorkers are still not aware of their risk and many are not being screened at recommended intervals,” adds Dr. Sunkin, “but colorectal cancer often can be prevented. Regular screening can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.”
All men and women age 50 and older are urged to get screened. While the disease can occur at any age, most people who develop colorectal cancer are age 50 or older. Additionally, those with a personal or family history of colon polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) or colon cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease, are at higher risk for developing colorectal cancer and may require more frequent tests.
Community outreach events are being held at several locations around the Capital Region. Uninsured individuals age 50 and older will be able to pick up easy to do take-home kits, free of charge, to screen for colon cancer. The locations include:
Ø Hoosick Street Kickoff: Wednesday, Mar. 4, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Brunswick Price Chopper, Hoosick St., Troy
Ø Central Avenue Kickoff: Friday, Mar. 6, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Westgate Price Chopper, Central Ave., Albany
Ø St. Peter’s Hospital Event: Monday, Mar. 9, 12 – 3 p.m., St. Peter’s Hospital, Main Street Lobby,
So. Manning Blvd., Albany
Ø St. Mary’s Massry Center Event: Wednesday, Mar. 18, 4 – 6 p.m., Hoosick St., Troy
“We are pleased to again be participating in Main St. Goes Blue and partnering with the New York State Department of Health Cancer Services Program (CSP) of Albany and Rensselaer Counties for their Main St. Goes Blue campaign,” says Maureen Rowan Murphy, Manager of Consumer Trends, Nutrition and Lifestyles for Price Chopper.
“Hosting screening events at our Westgate and Brunswick stores will provide our customers and teammates access to valuable health information and resources that will increase awareness of the importance of regular screenings in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer,” remarks Murphy.
Additionally, Albany and Rensselaer Cancer Services Program staff will be riding various CDTA buses Monday, Mar. 16, - Wednesday, Mar. 18, to help educate riders about getting screened and to hand out kits. CDTA will also host events on: Wednesday, Mar. 25, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., Colonie Station (Central Avenue side of Colonie Center); and on Friday, Mar. 27, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., Uncle Sam BusPlus Station (next to Dinosaur BBQ), Troy.
“We are happy to continue our partnership with the Cancer Services Programs of Albany and Rensselaer Counties for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month,” states David M. Stackrow, CDTA Chairman of the Board. “Getting screened is vitally important when it comes to maintaining good health and we are glad to help those who may otherwise not have access to cancer screenings.”
In addition to all the screening events, the Albany and Rensselaer County Partnerships will be decorating Central Avenue in Albany and Hoosick Street in Troy to help raise awareness.
"Each year, Central Avenue participates in this initiative because we know screenings save lives,” says Anthony Capece, Executive Director, Central Avenue Business Improvement District. “Our businesses come together with special displays, lighting, and signage, to turn Central Avenue blue and raise awareness about the importance of early detection."
All health insurance plans, including plans participating in the New York State of Health, cover colorectal cancer screening with no patient cost sharing, copayment or coinsurance, regardless of a yearly deductible.
For more information about screening events around the Capital Region, please call (518) 525-8680, or visit www.CSPofAlbandRen.com. To find a CSP Partnership near you, or to learn more about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month events in your area, please call 1-8-66-442-CANCER (2262), or visit