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Coffee sleeves used to spread health message

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HELENA – Public health officials and numerous Montana coffee shops have announced a new effort today to promote the importance of colorectal cancer screening among individuals ages 50 to 75.

As part of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, the Department of Public Health and Human Services is providing coffee sleeves to participating coffee shops in Montana with an important public health message: “Colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but only if you get tested! If you are 50 or older, talk to your doctor about which test is right for you.” 

“Colorectal cancer is preventable through screening at age 50,” DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan said. “It’s vitally important that people are screened. Early detection is the key.”

Hogan said that of cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. and the risk increases with age. Colorectal cancer occurs most often in people age 50 years or older.

Regular screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for all adults age 50 to 75. That is the age range when this type of cancer occurs most often. Those younger than 50 with a personal or family history of cancer, and those between ages 76-85, should consult with their doctor about when to screen.

Taralee Mongoven, owner of Leilani’s Lattes said she and her family have been personally impacted by cancer. “This is such an important message the public needs to be aware of,” she said. “Lives can be saved if people know the importance of early screening.”

Across the state, over 75 coffee shops and clinics are participating. A link to the participating shops can be found here

Sara Murgel of the DPHHS Cancer Control Program said new data shows that Montana has shown an increase in the percentage of men and women aged 50-75 who report being up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening. According to the 2019 Montana State Health Improvement Plan, 65 percent of Montanans are up-to-date, which is up from 62 percent in 2018.

However, Murgel said the goal nationwide is to reach 80 percent. “We are improving, but we still need to keep this important issue in the forefront,” she said. “We appreciate the coffee shops joining us in this effort.”

Screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening also finds colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.

Colorectal polyps and early stage cancers don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. That is why getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer is so important.

You may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer if:

—  you or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer;

—  you have inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis; or

—  you have a genetic syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis, or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome) 

Any coffee shop that wants to participate is encouraged to contact the DPHHS Montana Cancer Control Program for more information by calling Murgel at 406-444-1437.

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