From left: Brandon "Jinx" Jenkins, Vashtie and Mel D. Cole (Courtesy of Colorectal Cancer Alliance)
From left: Brandon "Jinx" Jenkins, Vashtie and Mel D. Cole (Courtesy of Colorectal Cancer Alliance)

According to the American Cancer Society statistics, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined and Black Americans are about 20% more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer and 35% more likely to die from it.

To lessen the disparity, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance partnered with radio and TV personality Charlamagne tha God, podcast host Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins, designer Vashtie and photographer Mel D. Cole for a campaign focused on increasing screening and prevention for “the Preventable Cancer.”

The Alliance said it’s acting with urgency to get the message out with a new campaign called “They Didn’t Say,” highlighting important facts about the impact of colorectal cancer among the Black community.

Here’s Why the Alliance is Taking Action:

  • Colorectal cancer kills more people each year – an estimated 52,580 in 2022 – than every type of cancer except lung cancer, and it is grossly underfunded compared to other cancers.
  • The average lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about one in 23 for men and 25 for women.
  • One in 250 people will get CRC before they turn 49; there will be a 90% increase in CRC for those under age 35 by 2030.
  • If caught and treated early, CRC has a 90% survival rate.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 eligible Americans has not been screened for colorectal cancer.
  • Young-onset colorectal cancer continues to rise; rates for people under 55 have increased 15% since 2000.

“There are many barriers to colorectal cancer screening that contribute to the disproportionate incidence and mortality rates among the Black community, including stigma, bias, awareness and access,” Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, said. “We believe that everyone deserves access to quality healthcare, regardless of zip code, race, income and insurance status.”

The Alliance said to provide actionable resources and educate the community on the realities of colorectal cancer; campaign ambassadors are amplifying the conversation via personal testimonials. 

“Too many of us have had friends or family that have been affected by colorectal cancer, so it’s important for me to speak out and help eliminate any embarrassment surrounding colorectal cancer screening,” said Charlamagne tha God. “Hopefully, this campaign will lead to more important conversations, screening and access to resources to help prevent this disease from further affecting our communities.”

With assistance from influencer partners, the Alliance said #TheyDidntSay helps further educate the Black community through a high-impact campaign. 

They added that National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month provides a timely platform to get the word out about Black Americans’ healthcare disparities.

In conjunction with its partners, the Alliance said it is providing free at-home test kits to eligible individuals, financial assistance for colonoscopies, and expenses associated with screening, including transportation, lodging, and lost work wages.

To find out if you qualify for a free colorectal cancer screening, contact the Colorectal Cancer Alliance helpline at 877-422-2030 or complete the online screening survey at quiz.getscreened.org.

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Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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