In honor of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this March, the Against Colorectal Cancer in Our Neighborhoods (ACCION) program is teaming up with community partners to raise awareness about colorectal cancer and to encourage El Pasoans to get tested for the disease. ACCION is a cancer prevention program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) that offers no-cost screenings to qualifying El Paso residents.
Even though colon cancer is easily prevented with a simple screening test, this cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. Doctors encourage adults age 50 and older to be regularly tested for colon cancer, but many El Pasoans do not follow these guidelines.
In fact, El Paso has one of the lowest colon cancer screening rates in Texas. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, only 54 percent of qualifying residents get tested for the cancer, compared to 66 percent of the rest of the U.S.
On March 15, TTUHSC El Paso joined with El Pasoan’s Fighting Hunger and New Mexico State University to conduct colorectal cancer education at Guillen Middle School. The event included a food pantry distribution and NMSU’s giant, inflatable colon for families to tour.
Coming up on March 23, TTUHSC El Paso’s ACCION team will visit the San Jacinto Adult Learning Center to educate some 150 adult students about colorectal cancer. Those who are eligible for colon cancer testing will be offered a free screening through the program. A former ACCION participant will be on-hand to discuss the program and to encourage students to get screened, thereby lowering their risk of colon cancer. NMSU will assist with cancer education and have their giant colon on display.