A natural collaboration between the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and Feeding America will allow for increased colorectal cancer awareness and prevention strategies to help populations at greater risk for this disease. The result is a health brief that will be distributed to thousands of food bank recipients nationwide.
“Ever since I came to the Alliance, I knew that I wanted to partner with Feeding America,” said Angele Russell, Director of Partnerships with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. “By working together, we are able to reach more people from marginalized communities, specifically Black and Hispanic populations. Naturally, we were thrilled when we found out they were enthusiastic about the project as well.”
The Intersections Between Food Security and Colorectal Cancer
Feeding America is the largest charity in the country, serving as a network of over 200 food banks and 60,000 meal programs across the United States. Each year, they provide more than 5 billion meals to roughly 40 million people with a mission to advance change in America by ensuring equitable access to nutritious food.
The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is the largest and oldest colorectal cancer nonprofit in the U.S., with more than 3 billion media impressions and $30 million committed to CRC research over the next five years. The Alliance’s mission is to end colorectal cancer by advocating for prevention, magnifying support, and accelerating research.
Of course, Feeding America is a natural ally. Diet and consumption play a significant role in the incidence of colorectal cancer, a disease of the digestive system. Therefore, it is necessary to address both matters of food insecurity as well as the challenges that are present in accessing nutritious foods.
Knowing the Facts
We know that individuals who experience food insecurity have a lower likelihood of getting necessary colorectal cancer screenings, leading to impacts on health outcomes and increased incidence rates of CRC. Additionally, food insecurity presents challenges in accessing nutritious foods to both prevent CRC and support dietary needs during cancer treatment.
The intersection between food insecurity and CRC risk become increasingly complex as we look at the data present within minority groups. Black communities are facing hunger at higher rates than other communities, with nearly 20% living in a food-insecure household. Latinos are also 2.5 times more likely than white individuals to experience food insecurity.
These barriers are further compounded when we look at the striking figures in the colorectal cancer community. Colorectal cancer death rates are 35% higher for African American individuals than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. Additionally, Hispanics are roughly 10% less likely to receive their recommended colorectal cancer screenings at age 45 than non-Hispanic whites.
Working to End Disparities and Improve Health Equity
In order to overcome these inequalities, new approaches are needed to ensure equitable access to information, nutrition, unbiased health care, and essential resources needed to improve overall health and wellness. That’s where a partnership between the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and Feeding America can have impact.
“By bringing awareness to health equity and CRC prevention strategies to our collective communities, the Alliance seeks to remove barriers to access wherever possible,” Angele said. “It’s important that vulnerable populations be informed about how social determinants affect health outcomes. The health brief was designed to explore that intersection and help to close the gap.”
Equally as important to access to information is access to nutritious food itself. Feeding America is spearheading great impacts in these regards, including a food security equity impact fund. The Alliance also plans to launch a health equity fund later this year.
“We are currently exploring further partnerships with Feeding America with the desire to increase our impact in the colorectal cancer community and health equity at large,” Angele said. “We are excited to see what the future holds and look forward to more collaborations with like-minded organizations. Together, we will work to end this disease in our lifetime.”
View the full health brief here.
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