Newsroom Article

Parkview Health joins forces with more than 1,000 organizations nationwide to increase colorectal cancer screening rates


“80% by 2018” is a shared goal to have 80% of adults age 50 and older

regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018


FORT WAYNE, IND. (Feb. 28, 2017) – Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives. Parkview Health today announced that it has made the pledge to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates by supporting the “80% by 2018” initiative, led by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (an organization co-founded by ACS and CDC). Mayor Tom Henry joined Parkview, ACS and community leaders today in the home of the future Parkview Cancer Institute to support the pledge and proclaim March “Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” in the city.


Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths; however, it is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Through proper colorectal cancer screening, doctors can find and remove hidden growths (called “polyps”) in the colon, before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether.


“80% by 2018” is an initiative in which more than 1,000 organizations have committed to substantially reducing colorectal cancer as a major public health problem and are working toward the shared goal of 80 percent of adults age 50 and older being regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.


“Colorectal cancer continues to be public health concern, and adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it, but we have found that many people aren’t getting tested because they don’t believe they are at risk, don’t understand there are testing options or don’t think they can afford it,” said Neil Sharma, MD, president, Parkview Cancer Institute, and director of interventional endoscopy, Parkview Physicians Group – Oncology. “The truth is, the vast majority of colorectal cancer cases occur in people 50 and older. Colorectal cancer in its early stages usually has no symptoms, so everyone 50 and older should get tested. There are several screening options – even take home options – available. Plus, many public and private insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening and there may be local resources available to help those who are uninsured.”


While colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped 30 percent in the U.S. over the last 10 years among adults 50 and older, it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., despite being highly preventable, detectable and treatable. In fact, 132,700 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2015 alone.


“We are grateful to Parkview Health for leading the fight against colon cancer by working to increase screening rates in our community. As the first health system in the area to sign the ‘80% by 2018’ pledge, it shows the commitment of Parkview to the health and well-being of their patients and our community,” said Paul Moore, health systems manager – hospitals, of the Lakeshore Division of the American Cancer Society. “As one of the most preventable cancers, it is critical that adults age 50 and older talk to their physicians about their screening options. We are strong believers that the best type of screening is the one that gets done.” 


Part of the “80% by 2018” goal is to leverage the energy of multiple and diverse partners to empower communities, patients and providers to increase screening rates. The initiative consists of health care providers, health systems, communities, businesses, community health centers, government, non-profit organizations and patient advocacy groups who are committed to getting more people screened for colorectal cancer to prevent more cancers and save lives.


“We are thrilled to join the cause to improve colorectal cancer screening rates,” added Sharma. “We are asking all members of our community to come together and help us by getting screened and talking to your friends and family about getting screened. Together, we can help to eliminate this major public health concern.”


To jumpstart its commitment, the Parkview Cancer Institute will be hosting a free colorectal cancer symposium at noon on Monday, March 13 at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation. Guests may hear presentations from physicians over lunch, schedule a colorectal cancer screening, talk to a nurse or ask questions about insurance coverage. For more information or to register, visit or call 888-780-3505.


For more information on the “80% by 2018” pledge, visit the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable’s website.


CLICK HERE to download photos from this event.


CLICK HERE to download video and interviews with Dr. Sharma and Mindy Torres, senior market manager, Lakeshore Division of the American Cancer Society.


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