UAB receives grand prize from National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable

Colorectal cancer screening among UAB employees enrolled in a medical plan increased from 54 percent in 2014 to 68 percent in 2019.

ThorntonJoomlaRiley Thornton, RDN, UAB Employee Wellness The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently honored the University of Alabama at Birmingham with the 2020 80% in Every Community National Achievement Award grand prize, given in recognition of distinguished, ongoing efforts to increase colorectal cancer screening rates across the United States.

80% in Every Community is an NCCRT initiative that works with community health centers, health plans, hospitals, health systems, employers and others to reach 80 percent colorectal cancer screening rates nationally. Nearly 1,800 organizations have signed a pledge to make this goal a priority.

The 80% in Every Community National Achievement Award includes one grand prize winner and five other honorees. Each receives a monetary award to be used to support continued efforts to increase screening for colorectal cancer.

In 2016, UAB Medicine and UAB Employee Wellness began partnering with the American Cancer Society to increase colorectal cancer screening and awareness among the university’s 23,000 employees. These efforts led to the Love Your Bum, Get it Screened campaign, a creative and multifaceted campaign with screening events including an inflatable walk-through colon, lunch and learns with physician presentations, educational videos highlighting UAB leadership, contests, and screening and awareness messages on employee websites and social media. As a result, colorectal cancer screening among UAB employees enrolled in a medical plan has increased from 54 percent in 2014 to 68 percent in 2019.

“It’s an incredible honor that UAB is recognized for the 80% in Every Community National Achievement Award,” said UAB Wellness Specialist Riley Thornton, RDN. “I’m proud of the collaboration across UAB to help bring awareness around colorectal cancer screening and the message that early detection saves lives. We’ve had incredible partners and experts across UAB to help spread awareness around colorectal cancer and the importance of screenings. Screening rates have increased and partnership throughout UAB has strengthened to spread overall awareness, earning us this incredible recognition.”

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States and the second most common cause of cancer deaths when men and women are combined.

“Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colorectal cancer,” said Richard Wender, M.D., ACS chief cancer control officer, and NCCRT chair. “With regular screening, most polyps can be found and removed before they have the chance to turn into cancer. Screening can also find colorectal cancer early, when it’s small and easier to treat. So, we are honored to recognize the dedication of these community leaders who share our goal of increasing the number of people who have access to lifesaving colorectal cancer screening.”