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Get the Facts, Not the Flu, at the Point of Care

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The IDSA Foundation recently launched ConFLUsion, a national public awareness campaign aimed at combating flu myths with credible health information. By partnering with Outcome Health, these important messages are now reaching patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers at the point of care.

It’s a cold… it’s a stomach bug… no, it’s influenza (flu), and if you are like many Americans, flu season might have you feeling a little conFLUsed.

While the vast majority of adults have heard of the flu, many still express conFLUsion and mistrust when it comes to what flu is and flu prevention and care. That’s because there is no shortage of bad advice, miseducation and myths about the flu. To combat these issues, the IDSA Foundation developed ConFLUsion, a national public awareness campaign aimed at combating flu myths with credible health information.

Recently, Outcome Health and the IDSA Foundation announced a partnership to promote the ConFLUsion campaign to audiences at the point of care. At the IDSA Foundation, we recognize the tremendous value in reaching patients and their caregivers with flu facts and vaccine information at the point of care because this is when they have immediate access to their healthcare provider. Rather than learning information about the flu and forgetting it the moment they become distracted by something else going on in their lives, the patient and caregiver audience is in a moment when their health is top of mind. At the point of care, they can ask their provider questions (to further dispel any conFLUsion they may have) and learn what to expect after receiving the vaccine. Through this partnership with Outcome Health, we can ensure that our important messages are reaching patients during their most critical moments of care.

We sought the expertise of Dr. Andrew T. Pavia to provide more information about the flu and why prevention is so important.

DON’T LET CONFLUSION KEEP YOU FROM PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM THE FLU. GET THE FACTS.
Each year, the flu causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths. Last year’s flu season alone accounted for the deaths of more than 80,000 people, making it one of the deadliest flu seasons in decades. The flu is a contagious viral respiratory infection that typically, although not always, causes fever (100-102° F for several days) *, severe aches and pains, exhaustion, coughing, sore throat, congestion, and a runny nose. Flu can also lead to more severe complications including pneumonia, blood stream infections, and less commonly, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), heart muscle (myocarditis), and skeletal muscles (myositis).

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever, especially the elderly, infants, and those on high doses of steroids.

The time from when a person is exposed and infected with flu to when symptoms begin is about two days but can range from about one to four days.

The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

THE FLU IS NOT:
A cold. Cold symptoms are similar, such as congestion, runny nose, and cough, but rarely include fever (and very mild, if so), severe aches and pains, and almost never exhaustion. Flu symptoms typically are much more intense than cold symptoms. Colds typically begin gradually while flu typically starts suddenly. People may say things about flu like: “It felt like I was suddenly hit by a truck.”

A stomach illness . Although people often say they have the “stomach flu,” there is no such thing. While modest vomiting and diarrhea occasionally are symptoms of the flu – more likely in children than adults – severe gastrointestinal symptoms typically suggest a bacterial or different type of viral infection (such as norovirus), rather than the flu, particularly if they are not accompanied by classic flu symptoms.

WHO IS AT THE HIGHEST RISK FROM FLU?
Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get flu. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, severe obesity, or heart disease), pregnant women, and children younger than 5 years (especially those younger than 2 years).

CAN THE FLU BE TREATED?
Yes. There are prescription medications called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat flu illness. These include: oseltamivir (Tamiflu), zanamivir (Relenza), baloxavir (Xhofluza), and peramivir (Rapivab).

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE THE FLU?
If you get the flu and are at high risk of serious complications, antiviral drugs are recommended to reduce the risk of complications. If you are not at high risk, antiviral drugs can reduce symptoms by about a day if started within 48 hours of when symptoms start and may be an option. Check with your doctor promptly if you are at high risk and you develop flu symptoms.

WILL THERE BE ANOTHER FLU EPIDEMIC IN THE U.S. AGAIN THIS YEAR?
The United States experiences annual epidemics of seasonal flu. In the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter months. This time of year is called “flu season.” Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May. CDC monitors key flu indicators for example, outpatient visits of influenza-like illness (ILI), the results of laboratory testing, reports of flu hospitalizations, and deaths. When these indicators rise and remain elevated for a number of consecutive weeks, “flu season” is said to have begun.

Cure your conFLUsion by visiting IDSAFoundation.org.

Special thanks to Andrew T. Pavia M.D., FAAP, FIDSA for his contribution to this article. Dr. Pavia is a George & Esther Gross Presidential Professor, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah, the Director of the Hospital Epidemiology program.

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The Outcome Lounge at Digital Pharma East

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Outcome Health attended Digital Pharma East and the team provided insightful commentary on the event, the conversations had, and the role Outcome Health will play in the future of healthcare.

Last week, Outcome Health attended Digital Pharma East in Philadelphia, PA. In the days following, we asked the team to reflect on our time in Philly and to provide insightful commentary on the event, the conversations had, and the role Outcome Health will play in the future of healthcare. Here are our thoughts.

Nerves came into play as we prepared for Day 1

Matt McNally, Chief Executive Officer
Returning to the conference circuit after the year we’ve had, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the nervousness we felt. But from those who stopped by our Outcome Lounge to the people we spoke with between speaker sessions, the message was clear: everyone wants us to come back. The point of care space has few players and a finite amount of inventory (it’s taken 12 years for Outcome Health to acquire the provider network that we have); therefore, clients are interested in learning how they can be part of our point of care innovation.

There was a recurring theme of aligning innovation with business objectives…

Matthew Crandall, SVP, Life Science Solutions 
Even though POC has continued to grow over the last 20 years, there are many in the industry who have little knowledge of the companies leading innovation. The best part about conferences like DPE is it exposes us to marketing managers on the hunt for the next big thing in healthcare. The market is ripe for us, especially now that many are considering cutting TV and investing those dollars elsewhere. It’s our job to explain that point of care is where brands should spend to truly reach patients when they’re making decisions about their health.

…and finding partners to bring these innovations to life.

Vikram Agadi, Director of Marketing and O/Studio
Because pharma is so heavily regulated, it is consistently behind other industries when it comes to advertising innovation. The keynote session featuring Nancy Nolan of Merck and Danielle Salowski of Facebook Health addressed this reality head on. The two entities knew that the success of their “Get Versed” HPV awareness campaign depended on its launch via Instagram; therefore, it was imperative that Merck’s MLR team was familiar with the platform. Thankfully they were already proponents of Instagram, which made the review process faster so the campaign could launch on time. Every innovator can learn from this. To win over key stakeholders, you must demonstrate the absolute need for your products and service.

Judy Klein, President of UNITY Consortium
Our partnership with Outcome Health allows us to capture the attention of parents when they’re at the doctor’s’ office and raise awareness for immunizations that are critical for their teens’ health.

Our conversations confirmed the value we provide for patients…

Crandall
Everyone can agree that discussing health conditions is so complicated, and our digital tools like the 3D anatomical models help patients both comprehend their condition and understand their treatment options.

McNally 
Those meeting us for the first time were blown away by our technology, especially after walking them through our consultation mode on the digital wallboard. Many folks put themselves in the shoes of the patient (because we’ve all been there) and could see how helpful our devices are at POC.

…healthcare professionals

Tony Gromada, Strategic Account Executive 
Our technology allows doctors to provide patients and caregivers with relevant content before the consultation, so they can have more meaningful conversations during their time together.

…and the point of care space as a whole.

Steve Hatten, Senior Director, Life Science Solutions
Linda Ruschau from Patient Point reinforced the value of point of care, and the impact of having a presence directly at the moment when critical decisions are made and where prescribing takes place. She referenced many of the same data points that we highlight (the ZS Associates report that patients in their physician’s office are 84% more likely to ask their doctor about an ad they saw, and 64% asked for a prescription for a specific medication) – it’s encouraging to see players in the space speaking the same language.

Agadi
Historically, healthcare players have taken the latest in technology, social media, etc. and tried to force a connection. From what I gathered at DPE, it now feels like most of the vendors and platforms have analyzed the healthcare issues they are trying to solve and are creating solutions that are most relevant for the end user (the patient). This evolution is exactly what the industry needs.

Jennifer Protacio, Senior Director of Life Science Solutions
Dante Gaudio from Healthline Media emphasized that as industry leaders, we must ensure that authenticity is central to everything we do. Patients don’t need to be bombarded with messages reminding them of their condition or disease – I see a huge opportunity for Outcome Health to become more “human-centric” through the content we deliver across our network.

We left feeling up to the challenge to do more

Heidi Anderson, Chief Growth Officer
We have the opportunity and obligation to create an impactful experience for patients, caregivers and providers because Outcome Health sits at the most personal, vulnerable, and powerful point of the health journey. As we look to transform a young and nascent segment of healthcare, we must continue to listen to our clients and evolve our product offering so that we aren’t lumped into the outdated brochure-space.

McNally
For the most part, everyone is trying to help move the healthcare industry forward.  However, I feel we are too distracted by shiny objects, and technology – sure there are trends like VR, telemedicine and voice, but nothing can take the place of the doctor and patient physical relationship. There’s an emotional and marketing opportunity [at POC] that’s far different than any other industry. We often hear from brand agencies,”Wouldn’t it be great if we could just walk in with the patient, to help them have the confidence to ask questions about a product that could save their life?” Well that’s essentially what Outcome Health is doing. We’re building solutions to facilitate the conversation between doctor and patient. The diverse perspectives and capabilities of our team is one of the main reasons I joined Outcome Health. We truly have an opportunity to knit together our experiences and strengths to build incredible solutions.

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Ending Prostate Cancer Starts at the Point of Care

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Jamie Bearse, President & CEO of ZERO -The End of Prostate Cancer, recognizes the value in reaching men at the point of care with information and reminders that can save their lives.

When visiting the doctor, have you ever felt like even though you move from the waiting room to the exam room you’re still waiting at least 20 more minutes before you actually lay eyes on a doctor? I’ll admit: I’ve wandered around an exam room counting the tiles on the floor, reading the posters on the walls, picking up the knee hammer and putting it back down quickly as if someone is going to come in and scold me for touching it.

On my most recent doctor visit I was relieved to see my general practice physician had brought in a TV stocked with videos to fill up all that empty time. I no longer had to covertly examine the medical equipment to pass the time. I was psyched to see that on that TV was ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer featured in one of the videos.

ZERO is a national nonprofit organization with the mission to end prostate cancer. More than that, we’re on a mission to educate men and their families about the disease and the importance of talking to their doctor about testing. This is why we’re thrilled to partner with Outcome Health to bring this vital awareness to men where it will be most impactful: in their doctor’s office. Launching this campaign during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September just brings even more awareness to the table for folks in local communities who may not be aware they’re at risk for the disease: This September, we want more men to know how vital early detection is.

Supporting patient education

That time in the “smaller waiting room” (aka exam room) is the perfect opportunity to not only wait for your doctor, but to focus on what you as a patient can do to make smarter and healthier decisions. You’re already in the mindset of talking about your medical history and any problems you may be having, so it’s the perfect time to face your health issues straight on.

Including information about prostate cancer risk and early detection in a doctor’s office such as the one I recently visited in Boston is critical. Early detection saves lives 99 percent of the time, but we find that too often men don’t talk to their doctor about prostate cancer risk. Engaging a patient with a video about prostate health *during their already scheduled appointment* can encourage the patient to talk about risks and when to be proactive about screening. They will already be in the right frame of mind, so a reminder about the disease itself could save their life. I don’t mean to scare you, but prostate cancer kills a man every 18 minutes and symptoms don’t appear until the disease has progressed to a late stage.

But that doesn’t have to happen to you. Prostate cancer screening is a simple blood test coupled with a physical exam. If you have questions or you or someone you care about is fighting prostate cancer, we’ve got your back. Visit us at ZeroCancer.org. Don’t forget: early detection saves lives, and having a conversation with your doctor about screening and your risk only takes a few minutes. It’s that few minutes – at the beginning or end of your already scheduled appointment – that could make all the difference.

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As President & CEO of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, Jamie Bearse is committed to championing the cause while stewarding this leading cancer organization. Bearse has been with ZERO for 16 years and has been a critical member of the leadership team since 2005. He is recognized as the key architect of several of ZERO’s strategic objectives and programs including the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk, its Endurance Team initiative, co-pay relief program, and ZERO360 Patient Navigation. Jamie is a black belt in karate, a blogger, and he lives in Boston, MA with his wife and three children.

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The Value of WomenHeart Champions

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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is currently looking for dynamic, driven women with heart disease to apply to become WomenHeart Champions at the 2018 WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium. WomenHeart Champions are the “boots on the ground” in the fight against heart disease, the leading cause of death in women.

This article was originally posted on the WomenHeart blog on July 10, 2018 and can be found here >

I have a purpose to share my heart story and save lives.

I am a WomenHeart Champion, a heart disease survivor, cardiovascular research advocate for women and retired cardiovascular registered nurse. The WomenHeart Champions are the core of our organization. I want to share the WomenHeart Champion story. We are fighting for every heart as WomenHeart Champion in our community.

WomenHeart Champions are a sisterhood of women who have established an extraordinary bond with women all across the country with a common issue; heart disease. First we go to the Mayo Clinic to be trained to become WomenHeart Champions. And by the time we arrive back home, back into our communities, we’ve already adopted what I call the WomenHeart lifestyle.

The pinnacle of that lifestyle is that a champion will talk to anyone about heart disease, anywhere, anytime. We keep the issue of women and heart disease, in the forefront of every conversation. WomenHeart Champions feel empowered when they plant the seed about how our heart symptoms might be different than men’s. We really hope we are saving women’s lives by teaching them about the potential symptoms of heart disease.

We really can’t believe so many women still don’t know their risk of heart disease in this country. We teach women how to be proactive about their heart health. Sometimes women go even into the workplace to give presentations to businesses and organizations through our Women Heart at Work program. With this program we teach women during the lunch hour about heart disease and hope that by doing that we help women not dismiss their symptoms.

WomenHeart Champions have been invited to various media events too numerous to list. We’ve been to Capitol Hill to talk to our political leaders. We’ve been to talk to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner about more women being in clinical trials. We’ve been invited to the White House, sometimes multiple times. But believe it or not, although it’s quite exciting to do all those things, those are not our most cherished experiences.

Our most memorable experiences are when we connect with another woman struggling with heart disease. Many of us have support networks that we meet with monthly. Or some of us may also visit patients in the hospital. Here’s what a WomenHeart Champion said about her experience leading a support network group. “Seeing the relief of a woman’s eyes, the tears that often come, and then that smile on a fearful face when I say, I’ve been in your shoes. I share your journey and today I am living well with heart disease. I felt so alone when I was diagnosed and I vowed to never let another woman feel that fear.” And this WomenHeart Champion has been with WomenHeart for 15 years.

So one might ask, what keeps a Woman Heart champion energized to continue the important work that we do. One champion summed it up this way. She said, “I should have died that night that I had my heart attack, but I didn’t. I stayed alive because I know I have a purpose to share my heart story and hopefully save lives of others.”

Evan McCabe is a Chair on WomenHeart’s Board of Directors and a WomenHeart Champion

If you are woman living with heart disease, consider sharing your story and helping other women by becoming a WomenHeart Champion. We are currently recruiting women for the 2018 WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium. It’s the nation’s only volunteer program that trains women with heart disease to be community educators and support network coordinators for women heart patients.

To learn more or to sign up, visit http://www.WomenHeart.org/empower

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A Patient’s Discovery of Immunotherapy

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Many patients are unaware of immunotherapy as a cancer treatment option. Outcome Health worked directly with advocacy groups and patients to raise awareness for the impact immunotherapy can have on a patient’s journey.

It came to our attention that there’s a lack of information out there about immunotherapy as a cancer treatment option. We felt it was important to tell a patient’s story about how immunotherapy positively affected their life. With the help of different advocacy groups, we identified and interviewed three patients who had positive results with immunotherapy. By amplifying their messages and bringing them to the point of care audience, Outcome Health can empower patients and their caregivers to ask their physicians a simple question: “What about considering immunotherapy?”

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It’s Time to Shatter the Stigma of Addiction…

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…Beginning in the Doctor’s Office

It’s time to shatter the stigma of addiction. Shatterproof is so excited to partner with Outcome Health to educate patients nationwide about this misunderstood disease.

Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastation addiction causes families. The organization was founded in 2013 by businessman Gary Mendell, after he lost his son Brian to the disease.

21 million Americans live with a substance use disorder. Only 1 in 10 of those Americans will ever receive any form of treatment for their illness—and even fewer receive treatment that’s based on proven research. To turn the tide of our country’s addiction epidemic, we’ve got to get more Americans into better, evidence-based treatment.

That’s why Shatterproof is so excited to partner with Outcome Health on a new awareness campaign. Together, we’ll deliver facts about addiction directly to patients, in the environment where that information is most useful and appropriate: the doctor’s office. The patient education resources deployed across Outcome Health’s nationwide platform will explain the science of addiction, include messages to break stigmas, and encourage patients to talk to their doctors about pain management options.

Shatterproof is working hard to transform the way addiction is treated in America—and we’ve had a lot of success so far. Shatterproof has helped pass lifesaving policy change in 15 states and counting. We’ve been key advocates for important federal legislation, like the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act. And at the end of 2017, our Treatment Task Force introduced the National Principles of Care for addiction—with 16 major health payers, representing over 248 million American lives, agreeing to adopt and implement these research-backed principles.

We’re uniting communities around the country to Rise Up Against Addiction and join the national movement to help end the devastation addiction is causing families in communities all across this country. We’re also supporting communities through the launch of our Shatterproof Family Support Programs, the Shatterproof Addiction Wellness at Work Program, and a comprehensive initiative to transform addiction treatment through a provider rating system, provider and public education, and policy and payment reform.

Treatment works for addiction, and recovery is possible for every American with this disease. We’re excited to partner with Outcome Health on this important initiative. Together, we can truly shatter the deadly stigma of addiction.

Learn more about our organization, and find evidence-based resources about addiction, at shatterproof.org. And stay tuned to Outcome Health’s blog for updates on our partnership and progress!

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Shannon Hartley is Shatterproof’s Chief Marketing Officer. Shatterproof advocates for changes in policy at the federal and state level and supports the development and implementation of evidence-based solutions for substance use disorders.

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Measuring Performance Outcomes

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At Outcome Health, we’ve made it a priority to ensure that every client feels confident in our campaign measurement. We’ve partnered with the leader in human data science to support our data and measurement analysis.

 

Outcome Health reaches patients when and where it matters most, which is why we hold ourselves to the industry’s highest standards. By ensuring that every customer receives accurate measurement results, we can demonstrate the value we bring to every customer. We are transforming our business in our commitment to yours.

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Prevention is beautiful, at the point of care

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Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-30. Shelby Moneer, Director of Education at the Melanoma Research Foundation, shares how her perception of beauty has evolved since becoming a parent.


Shelby and daughter, Ava.

In 2014, I wrote a blog about the changes I’d experienced in my first two years of being a mother. Not so much about motherhood itself, but about protective instincts and how “beauty” seems to take on a different meaning. These experiences have helped to shape and strengthen my work with the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) and the melanoma community we serve. In the eight years since joining the MRF and working within this community, so much has changed…or has it?

Well, let’s take a look. Melanoma continues to be diagnosed at alarming rates and impacts people of every age, race and gender. It is the leading cause of cancer death in women aged 25-30. That’s right – more young women are lost to melanoma than any other cancer. That’s a statistic I take note of every day. Maybe it’s because I’m only a few (okay, a handful) of years removed from that age group, or maybe it’s because of my 5-year-old. I cringe when I see young women with unnaturally tanned skin or bright red sunburns next to the lines of natural skin where a bathing suit once was.

My daughter is now 5 – but sometimes acts like she’s 25 – and I can’t help but wonder, like all parents, if I’m doing this parenting thing right. We talk about bike helmets, seat belts, being a nice friend. We also talk about how everyone is different. She reminds me of this when she tells me that she doesn’t like something. “It’s okay, mom, because everyone is different. You like it, but I don’t.” See that comment above about being 25?

So far, I know that my husband and I have raised a young girl with a great deal of confidence, a strong personality, a good sense of humor and a love of sunscreen (or at least sunscreen application). I don’t know yet if she truly understands how dangerous too much sun can be. I haven’t talked to her about what exactly UV radiation is and how it can hurt us. She doesn’t know what cancer is. Or that the sun can cause it. I imagine we’ll tackle those topics soon, but not yet.

If I’ve learned anything over the past 5 years of parenting, it’s that sometimes I sound like a broken record. I repeat my message so my daughter hears me, listens to me, and understands me. Similarly, in melanoma prevention and early detection, I’ve learned that the message must be repeated and it must be communicated in a way that makes consumers want to engage, connect and take action. That’s why the MRF is excited to partner with Outcome Health to bring much needed attention to melanoma right at the point of care. Informed and empowered patients are the most important member of their health care team and relationships like this are critical to spreading awareness and preventative measures against the deadliest form of skin cancer.

To read Shelby’s original blog post, click here.

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Shelby Moneer is the Director of Education at the Melanoma Research Foundation and  is responsible for all development, implementation and assessment of the education program. Shelby was elected as the Co-Chair to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention for 2017-2020. She and her husband have two young children and live in St. Louis, MO. They enjoy playing and watching sports, spending time outdoors and being surrounded with friends and family.

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. The MRF is a dedicated advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. More information is available at www.melanoma.org.

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New Guidelines for Colon and Rectal Cancer Screenings

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The American Cancer Society has updated its guidelines for colon and rectal cancer screenings and recommends that adults get screened started at age 45 instead of 50. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance commends and endorses this effort.

On May 30, 2018, the American Cancer Society announced newly updated guidelines for colon and rectal screening. Adults at average risk should get screened as early as age 45 instead of 50. We reached out to our friends at the Colorectal Cancer Alliance for their thoughts:

The increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in younger adults is an epidemic within the cancer community. By 2030, 10.9 percent of all colon cancers and 22.9 percent of all rectal cancers will be diagnosed in patients younger than age 50.

Together we must defy and redefine the odds. Today, the American Cancer Society proposed new guidelines that colorectal cancer screening should begin at age 45 for people of average risk.

If this new guideline is adopted, fewer people will be lost to this senseless killer. We commend the American Cancer Society and fully endorse their new guideline and commitment to saving lives.

Recently, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance established the Never Too Young Advisory Board so we may all join forces and take action around the issue of young-onset colorectal cancer. We plan to invest $10 million in critical research by 2021, which includes $3 million specifically for young-onset colorectal cancer. We will also double the number of constituents we serve and save 100,000 lives by 2026 through increased screening.

Across America, our Never Too Young Advisory Board will work tirelessly to educate primary care physicians and gastrointestinal medical professionals around symptoms of young-onset colorectal cancer. We will challenge insurance companies to step up to the plate and protect the young-onset population.

While this action by the American Cancer Society does not mean colorectal cancer screening tests will now be covered by insurance plans for people under age 50, it is a wonderful victory, and it’s up to all of us to keep moving the needle forward.

Michael Sapienza, CEO
Colorectal Cancer Alliance

Read the full version of Michael’s statement here

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is a national nonprofit committed to ending colorectal cancer. Working with our nation of passionate allies, we diligently support the needs of patients and families, caregivers, and survivors, eagerly raise awareness of preventative screening, and continually strive to fund critical research. As allies in the struggle, we are fiercely determined to end colorectal cancer within our lifetime. For more information, visit ccalliance.org.

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Take #IBDBeyondBorders on World IBD Day!

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Saturday, May 19 is World IBD Day. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is working hard to break down borders, make IBD visible, educate others for better understanding, and strengthen the fight to find cures for IBD.

More than 10 million people worldwide live with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system, causing abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, weight loss, and more.

May 19 marks World IBD Day – a day in which people worldwide unite in the fight against Crohn’s and colitis and raise awareness of the debilitating nature of these chronic incurable digestive diseases.

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is working with Outcome Health to raise awareness and support patient engagement and education.

Every patient experiences IBD differently. Location, symptoms, and severity all vary, as do the ways the disease can affect you outside of the gut. And all of this is underscored by the awareness, understanding, and care that is available where you live. Because of this, IBD is truly a disease that goes beyond borders – geographic, physical, and emotional.

Below a few patients share their experiences living with Crohn’s or colitis:

Shawn, Ulcerative Colitis

“[Since my surgery,] I now live a life I never knew was possible – a life with very little colitis symptoms. Through my experiences, my biggest lesson learned is to never give up. There were so many nights when I sat in bed and cried, on someone’s toilet crying, in the hospital crying. Wanting it all to be over, this life to be over. – But because I went through it and learned from it, I am a much stronger person.”

Mitchell, Crohn’s Disease

“During the period of diagnosis, I had gotten very sick. I had lost over 60 pounds, I was throwing up every time I ate, and I had to quit sports because I couldn’t hold my own. I was to the point where I wanted to give up. I basically cut myself off from the world around me; I didn’t attend many school events, and I only told a few people what was wrong with me.

It took me about a year to finally accept my diagnosis and move on with life. One night, I just got sick of living life in the dark and I told myself that this is the life that I was given and that I am going to try and make the biggest difference I can. My family and friends have helped me cope and have given me so much support; I will never be able to thank them enough.”

Rena, Ulcerative Colitis

“Eight years after my initial diagnosis I found myself with a permanent ostomy. Her name is Rita, and together we are learning how to regain our lives back. I am thankful that she allows me to be able to study, travel, swim and indulge in my passion for cooking. I chronicle my journey on my blog, and hope that my story can help to support and inspire other young ostomates like me. My journey with IBD has also led me on a path to pursue a degree in acupuncture, something that has brought an invigorated joy for learning and a passion to help other patients suffering from chronic diseases.”

Shaun, Indeterminate Colitis

“By the age of nine, my mom (who was a total rock star throughout the entire process I love you, mom) and doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston decided to remove my colon. My body just couldn’t take the pain caused by my damaged, inflamed colon. At age 11 (or was it 12?), I had another surgery to remove a piece of my small intestine due to an intestinal blockage caused my scar tissue. This surgery, unfortunately, reduced my chances of having a j pouch a procedure my doctors said I was a strong candidate for at one point. Since the age of nine, I have been lucky enough to live free of any intestinal symptoms of IBD. My surgery was truly a life-saver.”

 

Help raise awareness on World IBD Day and tag #IBDBeyondBorders with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Visit www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/WorldIBDDay to see all the ways you can get involved.

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Rebecca Kaplan is the public affairs & social media manager for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The Foundation’s mission is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing education resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information, visit www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org, call 888-694-8872, or email info@crohnscolitisfoundation.org

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