Colorectal cancer (cancer involving the colon and rectum) is the second most common cancer in terms of incidence and mortality throughout the world. Each year almost 140,000 Americans fall victim to this deadly cancer, and almost 50,000 lose the battle, according to the reports of Center for Disease Control. However, Project ACCION, initiated by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, Texas, is expected to decrease the prevalence and mortality rate from colorectal cancer in El Paso County of Texas.
With almost 1,270 new cases reported between year 2002 to 2006 and death of 460 colorectal patients, the colorectal cancer rate is reported to be fairly high in El Paso County when compared to rest of the Texas, with the incidence being higher among Hispanics as compared to non-Hispanics. According to an estimate, almost 245 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year in the absence of any relevant family history.
Early screening and prompt treatment of the pre- cancerous lesions can save up to 60% deaths from colorectal cancer. ACCION (Against Colorectal Cancer in Our Neighborhoods) is the result of combined efforts of more than 20 academic and community-based organizations and health sciences center at El Paso County that strongly believes in creating cancer awareness among residents of El Paso community of Texas. The efforts helped in saving the life of 4 patients last year by ACCION and Cancer Research and Prevention Institute of Texas.
To create awareness among the general population, ACCION is celebrating National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month in March. ACCCION is also holding a walk on March 27th to educate people about the program and colorectal cancer. During this walk, the community will pass through a giant replica of a colon.
The ultimate goal of this project is to decrease the burden of disease by educating individuals and encouraging risk group get a free colorectal screening. The funding of a $2.7 million dollar grant is managed by Dr. Navkiran Shokar who is also an associate professor in the Departments of Family and Community Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
The program helps in the stratification of a risk group on the basis of multiple tests that include fecal occult blood testing, colonoscopies, medical history analysis, and age analysis (50 to 75 years). With the dedicated efforts of researchers and healthcare providers of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, the ACCION program has educated over 3,307 people in the past year, with the majority also receiving testing as well. Out of 175 free colonoscopies that were considered high risk, 150 individuals have already undergone colonoscopies (out of which 40 were diagnosed with adenomas in the colon). Adenoma may develop into cancerous lesions, and early detection and removal decreases the risk of colorectal significantly.
ACCION is committed to performing screening and awareness operations until the funding lasts; however, it is expected that in lieu of the excellent results, the grant will be extended after 2 years.