March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

In recognition of March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, BJC Help for Your Health is encouraging employees to understand the risk factors for colorectal cancer. For the 10th year, employees who commit to colorectal cancer prevention have an opportunity to win home exercise equipment valued at $1,000.

To be eligible for the drawing, complete the quiz, e-sign the form below and submit by March 31, 2018. Only one entry per employee will be eligible. Winners will be announced in BJC TODAY and on BJCnet.

Eligible employees must:

  • Pledge to schedule or encourage a family member or friend to schedule a screening test in 2018, based on the American Cancer Society guidelines or the advice of their physician
  • Promote healthy nutrition and exercise in 2018
  • Complete an educational quiz about colorectal cancer
  • Turn in the completed pledge form by March 31, 2018
Learn more about colon cancer

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., with about 140,000 people diagnosed each year, and the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the U.S. Colorectal cancer refers to cancers in the colon or rectum. Most colorectal cancers begin as polyps, abnormal growths that may become cancers over a long period of time.

The good news is that individuals can take steps to prevent colon cancer by changing certain risk factors. Some changeable risk factors include not getting screened; being overweight; eating a diet high in red and processed meat; having low physical activity; drinking too much alcohol; smoking; and being low in certain nutrients.

Though colon cancer is preventable, there are a number of important risk factors that people can’t control, such as age, family history, being tall and having inflammatory bowel disease. Up to 5-6 percent of all colon cancers in the United States are caused by inherited colon cancer syndromes.

It’s important to note that 75 percent of patients with colon cancer have no symptoms, and 75 percent of patients with colorectal cancer have no family history. This means starting patient colon cancer screening at age 50 is very important. Several different colorectal cancer screening tests are used for detecting colon cancer, and they should be done at certain intervals.

The incidence of colorectal cancer is increasing in patients younger than 50. This age group represents about 10-12 percent of the total 140,000 cases/year. Alarmingly, cancers in the under-50 population are diagnosed at later stages and appear to be more aggressive tumor types, both of which have implications for prognosis and survival.

Overall, however, the death rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people per year) from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for more than 20 years. This can be due to several factors. One is that polyps are being found by screening and removed before they can grow into cancers. Screening also allows more colorectal cancers to be found earlier, when the disease is easier to cure. Also, treatment for colorectal cancer has improved over the past several years. As a result, there are now more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States.

Sources: Siteman Cancer Center and American Cancer Society

Take the BJC Help for Your Health Colorectal Cancer Awareness Quiz to test your level of colorectal cancer knowledge.

BJC Employees: You can print out the quiz here, answer the questions and submit for a chance to win a piece of exercise equipment valued at $1,000. 

BJC Employees: Take the quiz online below. (proceed to online quiz)

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women.


True - Of the most common cancers in American women, breast cancer is second only to skin cancers. Currently, the average risk of a U.S. woman developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12 percent.

More than 250,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.


True - According to the American Cancer Society, about 268,670 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018.

Breast cancer can be prevented.


False - There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But there are things all women can do that might reduce their risk and help increase the odds that if cancer does occur, it will be found at an early, more treatable stage.

Having dense breast tissue has no effect on the risk of breast cancer.


False - Breasts are made up of fatty tissue, fibrous tissue and glandular tissue. A woman is said to have dense breasts (on a mammogram) when she has more glandular and fibrous tissue and less fatty tissue. Women with dense breasts on mammogram have a risk of breast cancer that’s about 1.5 to 2 times that of women with average breast density. Unfortunately, dense breast tissue can also make it harder to see cancers on mammograms.

Performing a breast self-exam every month eliminates the need for an annual mammogram.


False - Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel is an important part of breast health, and finding breast cancer as early as possible gives you a better chance of successful treatment. But knowing what to look for — and reporting any changes to a health care provider right away — doesn't take the place of having regular mammograms and other screening tests. Screening tests can help find breast cancer in its early stages, before any symptoms appear.

Commit to Colorectal Cancer Awareness in March

One winner will be chosen from all entries to receive exercise equipment valued at $1,000. To be eligible, complete this form and submit it by March 31, 2018. Winners will be announced in BJC TODAY and on BJCnet.

By entering my name below, I pledge:

  • To have a screening test for colorectal cancer based on the American Cancer Society guidelines or the advice of my doctor during 2018 
  • To promote healthy nutrition and exercise during 2018

* = Required Information