Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States. Each year in South Carolina, 2,200 new people will be diagnosed with the disease and more than 800 will die from the disease. Statistics show the medically underserved has a higher incidence and lower survival rates from colorectal cancer diagnosis. In addition, African American and rural populations are at high-risk for developing colorectal cancer. This is felt strongly in South Carolina where more than 30% of the population is African American, of which, 40% live in rural areas.
Through the its screening program, the Center for Colon Cancer Research at USC, is working to reduce the morbidity rate from colorectal cancer in South Carolina. The state-wide program provides screening colonoscopy to the uninsured medically underserved populations of South Carolina. Qualified individuals are uninsured, live at 150% or below the poverty line, are between the ages of 50 – 64 (or 45 – 64 for African Americans), and meet eligibility criteria for the program. The Colorectal Cancer Prevention Network utilizes a virtual database and enhanced navigation services to promote compliance and education to individuals in the program.
The Colorectal Cancer Prevention Network, which was established in 2008, has been working to reduce colorectal cancer death in South Carolina through statewide education and awareness as well as providing screening services to medically underserved South Carolinians. The network partners with Free Medical Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Clinics to locate those most at risk and unable to access CRC screening services. The Colorectal Cancer Prevention Network has received strong support from private, corporate and public organizations such as: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, the South Carolina Gastroenterology Association, The Duke Endowment, The Center for Colon Cancer Research at USC, and the University of South Carolina.
In 2010, the Center for Colon Cancer Research at USC, under the leadership of Dr. Frank Berger, invited a small group of influential advocates to form the CRC Action Committee. This Committee’s mission is to reduce the incidence and deaths from colorectal cancer in SC by collaboratively raising awareness and screening rates for this preventable disease. This agile committee is committed to implementing actions and population based activities in a responsive and flexible manner. The CRC Action Committee works with partners to increase screening among persons who have health insurance that covers preventive screenings. Members of this committee include providers, business leaders, researchers and colon cancer survivors.