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ASGE Press Release

ASGE Partners with Ob-Gyns to Spread News Among Women: Colorectal Cancer Isn't Just a Man's Disease!

Washington, D.C. , May 23, 2007 - The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) recently partnered with The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other key medical groups on a new campaign aimed at reducing deaths from colorectal cancer (often referred to as colon cancer) among women. Colorectal cancer is the No. 2 cancer killer of adults in the US and the third leading cause of cancer death among women in the US, behind lung and breast cancers. ASGE announced the partnership to its physician members this week at Digestive Disease Week™ 2007.

"As a female doctor, I understand the important relationship between women and their ob-gyns. We know from studies that a doctor's advice is the single most important factor in persuading individuals to be screened. ASGE is excited to partner with ACOG to dispel the myth that colorectal cancer is a man's disease and to deliver the message to women that colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable through proper screening," said Grace H. Elta, MD, FASGE, ASGE President.

To promote this important health message, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the Monahan Center and American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) joined ACOG in calling upon ob-gyns to educate their patients about the importance of colon cancer screening. The campaign's educational materials were sent to the ACOG membership nationwide, and include a cover letter from ACOG President Douglas W. Laube, MD, MEd; ACOG cancer screening guidelines; a fact sheet on colon cancer screening for women; and a Screen for Life educational exam-room poster featuring Katie Couric, developed by the Entertainment Industry Foundation's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF's NCCRA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign. The poster is aimed at reminding women of the importance of screening for colon cancer along with breast and cervical cancers. (The poster is available here; the fact sheet is available here.)

"We want women to be as vigilant about getting tested for this disease as they are about getting their mammogram and Pap test," said ACOG President Douglas W. Laube, MD, MEd. "Most women don't know that colorectal cancer is in fact a disease of women. Each year it takes the lives of nearly as many women as do ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancers combined," he added.

In 2007, it is estimated that nearly 154,000 Americans-about the same number of men and women-will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. While the decline in colorectal cancer deaths in recent years has been attributed to improved screening, many Americans still fail to get screened. This year alone, the disease will claim the lives of more than 52,000 Americans; of these deaths, more than 26,000 will be women.

Through proper screening, colon cancer can be prevented by removing precancerous polyps before they turn into cancer. Further, early detection is the key variable in survival statistics among cancers, including colorectal.

People with certain risk factors, such as a family history of colon cancer, polyps or cancer, need to speak with their doctor about starting screening at a younger age and with greater frequency. The partnering medical groups strongly emphasize that women should not wait until symptoms develop to be screened. The fact is, precancerous polyps and early stage colon cancer may not cause symptoms. This is why regular screening is so important.

The campaign to raise awareness among women about the importance of colon cancer screening was announced at ACOG's Annual Clinical Meeting in San Diego, Calif., on May 8, 2007. In a statement noting the contributions of the CDC, ACOG, ASGE, ACG, and the Monahan Center, EIF's NCCRA Co-Founder Katie Couric said, "The impact of this collaboration will illustrate the power of partnership in pursuing important public health goals. Ob-gyns play a key role in educating women about critical preventive health measures, and their talking to patients about colorectal cancer will mean that more women get screened. As a result, the lives of countless mothers and wives and sisters and daughters will be saved."


Founded in 1941, the mission of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is to be the leader in advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence in gastrointestinal endoscopy. ASGE, with more than 10,000 physician members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. and

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is the national medical organization representing over 51,000 members who provide health care for women.

The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health is a world-class gastrointestinal cancer and wellness center. Founded in 2004, The Monahan Center serves as a unique model of coordinated and compassionate care, dedicated to public education and the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and research of gastrointestinal cancers, including cancers of the colon, rectum, pancreas, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, stomach, and small intestine.

Founded in 1932, the American College of Gastroenterology is an organization with a membership of about 10,000 physicians. The College is committed to serving the clinically oriented digestive disease specialist through its emphasis on scholarly practice, teaching, and research. ACG's mission is to serve the evolving needs of physicians in the delivery of high quality, scientifically sound, humanistic, ethical, and cost-effective health care to gastroenterology patients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serves as the national focus for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and health education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States. CDC"s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control is a leader in nationwide cancer prevention and control, working with national organizations, state health agencies and other key groups to develop, implement, and promote effective cancer prevention and control practices.

Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), as a leading charitable organization of the entertainment industry, harnesses the collective power of the entire industry to raise awareness and funds for critical health, educational and social issues in order to make a positive impact in our community and throughout the nation. EIF was established in 1942 by some of the leading figures in Hollywood.

EIF's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF's NCCRA) is dedicated to the eradication of colon cancer by promoting education about the importance of early medical screening and funding cutting-edge research to develop better tests, treatments and, ultimately, a cure. The NCCRA was co-founded by journalist Katie Couric, cancer activist Lilly Tartikoff, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation in 2000.