Colonoscopies and other screening methods guard against colorectal cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the US. But the procedure is out of reach for many people who do not have insurance or other financial means to afford screening.
In an effort to save lives, Olympus provided funding to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance (the Alliance) to screen 50 people for colorectal cancer during March, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Colonoscopies, a medical procedure that can identify malignant polyps in the large intestine, were provided nationwide to 50 in-need men and women who sought to know their health status.
Screening is a critical step to identify and treat colorectal cancer, which is 90% beatable if caught early. The Alliance, which seeks to end colorectal cancer within our lifetime, advocates for screening by colonoscopy or one of the other six approved methods.
Among the 50 individuals screened with funding from Olympus was Roxanne Hopkins, a Phoenix woman whose mother had colorectal cancer, a disease that can be hereditary. Hopkins, however, is without health insurance and could not afford a colonoscopy.
“I was looking for ways to check myself—I’m approaching 50 pretty quickly,” Hopkins said. “My gratitude is just unbelievable.”
For most adults, doctors recommend that screenings start at age 50. Individual risk factors, such as ethnicity, lifestyle, and family history, may require earlier screening. A
doctor can provide more information about how and when screening should begin.
Olympus funding also provided Clay Wilson with a clean colonoscopy and peace of mind. The 61-year-old man from Sarasota, Florida, doesn’t have insurance, so the price tag for a colonoscopy, which can be thousands of dollars, was simply too high.
“I wanted to take care of my health, and I’m grateful they could do this for us,” Wilson said.
Maryhelen, of Phoenix, Arizona lost her brother suddenly to colorectal cancer in 2014. Doctors discovered that her brother had Lynch Syndrome, a genetic condition that predisposes carriers to colorectal cancer. Before his death, Maryhelen promised her brother that she would get his son, Cyrus, screened for colorectal cancer.
The Olympus-Colorectal Cancer Alliance partnership provided that promised colonoscopy.
“Knowing that you have this gene and being able to stay on top of it is a gift,” Maryhelen said. “Early detection is what’s going to stop our family from being in my brother’s situation.”
While some results from the 50 colonoscopies remain pending—and a couple are scheduled in April—at least one case resulted in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
“Our partnership with Olympus demonstrates the incredible power of nonprofit and industry collaboration,” says Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Alliance. “Providing these screenings during March, our awareness month, is particularly compelling. The importance of screening cannot be overstated.”
A recent report from the American Cancer Society showed a third of eligible adults have not been screened for colorectal cancer.
Olympus manufactures camera devices that are used in colonoscopy procedures.
For information about our screening assistance opportunities, reach out to the Alliance. We’re here to help.