Initiative Aims to Reduce Stigma and Educate about Screening Choices, as the Colorectal Cancer Alliance Launches a Health Equity Fund to Decrease Disparities
NFL quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys is teaming up with the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to colon cancer, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance (Alliance), and Ryan Reynolds’ creative agency, Maximum Effort, to LEAD FROM BEHIND. LEAD FROM BEHIND is a series of unique and creative videos featuring celebrities in sports and entertainment spreading awareness that colon cancer is The Preventable Cancer and that there are a variety of screening options. Having lost his mother to colon cancer, Prescott joins the LEAD FROM BEHIND initiative to tackle the important topic with “Sh*t Talk,” an entertaining video to reduce the stigma and break down the barriers to screening – that thing that almost no one wants to talk about, let alone do. With the NFL season in full swing, and sh*t talk raging among the players, Prescott turns talking sh*t into a positive thing and underscores the importance of screening for colon cancer prevention.
The Alliance and its celebrity partners, including Dak and previous supporters Ryan Reynolds, Rob McElhenney, and Terry Crews, encourage people to visit LeadFromBehind.org to view and share the video on their social channels, and tag someone they love who should get screened. A helpful screening tool, which provides more information on an individual’s risk factors, potential symptoms, and screening choices is available on the site.
“Losing my mother to colon cancer was devastating, and no one should have to go through that,” said Prescott. “That’s why I started the colon cancer screening and research pillar of my Faith Fight Finish Foundation. Partnering with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and LEAD FROM BEHIND is another way I can let people, especially Black Americans who are at greater risk, know that colon cancer is preventable and there are a variety of screening options.”
Colon cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the U.S., yet it is highly treatable and preventable with screening. Depending on a person’s risk factors and preferences, there are different choices for screening including easy-to-use at-home tests, and colonoscopy. Cologuard is for adults 45 and older at average risk and is an at-home test that detects DNA and blood in the stool. A fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is an at-home test that detects blood in the stool, and a colonoscopy is a medical procedure that uses a camera to exam the colon.
“I’d like to thank Dak for joining Rob McElhenney, Terry Crews, and me in helping raise awareness for dropping your drawers,” said Maximum Effort Co-founder Ryan Reynolds. “This is a highly preventable cancer and the more we advocate for and destigmatize the colorectal screening process, the more real lives are saved.”
Colon cancer has a greater than 90% survival rate with early detection and treatment. Disparities limit access to equitable screening and treatment for many, particularly Black and other demographics of Americans who are disproportionately underserved and overburdened by the disease. In an effort to decrease disparities and improve outcomes among those with significant barriers to quality care, the Alliance is launching a Health Equity Fund. Exact Sciences is the seed donor of the Alliance’s Healthy Equity Fund, pledging one million dollars’ worth of Cologuard screening kits. The kits will be distributed through select community health centers in partnership with the Alliance.
“Our research shows that screening access varies greatly among Black and medically underserved populations, which directly impacts the risk of colorectal cancer,” said Kevin Conroy, Chairman and CEO of Exact Sciences. “We applaud the Colorectal Cancer Alliance for creating a Health Equity Fund and are committed to assisting its efforts to make screening accessible for all.”
Disparities in healthcare are widespread and associated with worse health outcomes. According to various data, the reality of these disparities is stark:
- Black Americans are 15% more likely than non-Hispanic whites to get colorectal cancer and 35% more likely to die from it.
- Hispanics and individuals of Latin heritage are screened at lower rates, with only slightly more than 50% of those eligible checked for colorectal cancer.
- Pervasive stigma, discomfort with screening methods, lack of institutional trustworthiness, lack of awareness of when/how to screen, and bias/racism in the healthcare system create barriers.
- Patients with a lower economic status of any race are at substantially higher risk for undertreatment and treatment delay.
The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is committed to breaking down barriers to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, including systemic racism, poverty, language barriers, lack of insurance, environmental conditions, and geography, among others. The Health Equity Fund will aim to increase the Alliance’s impact by offering free or low-cost screening options to more Americans in need, expanding financial assistance for patients during treatment, enabling innovative research to identify reasons for and solutions to disparities, and connecting those most in need with high-quality and potentially lifesaving screening and treatment options.
"The mission of the Alliance is to end colorectal cancer in our lifetime,” said Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. “By raising awareness for screening options and prevention through LEAD FROM BEHIND and decreasing disparities through the Health Equity Fund, we are making significant strides in achieving that mission.”
To learn more about screening options, share Dak’s video, and help make a difference, go to LeadFromBehind.org. For more information or to donate to the Health Equity Fund visit ccalliance.org/healthequity.
ABOUT LEAD FROM BEHIND
LEAD FROM BEHIND is a creative initiative to let everyone know that colon cancer is The Preventable Cancer. Yet today, colon cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in America. The best way to prevent it is by getting screened - that thing almost no one wants to talk about, let alone do. In 2021, thanks to guidelines that lowered the screening age from 50 to 45, 20 MILLION more Americans are now eligible to get checked. Talk to your healthcare provider to decide which screening option is best for you. Powered by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, the largest colon cancer nonprofit organization, LEAD FROM BEHIND has been created in partnership with Ryan Reynolds and his creative agency Maximum Effort. www.LeadFromBehind.org
ABOUT COLORECTAL CANCER ALLIANCE
The Colorectal Cancer Alliance empowers a nation of passionate and determined allies to prevent, treat, and overcome colorectal cancer in their lives and communities. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Alliance advocates for prevention, magnifies support, and accelerates research. We are the largest national nonprofit dedicated to colorectal cancer, and we exist to end this disease in our lifetime. For more information, visit colorectalcancer.org.
ABOUT MAXIMUM EFFORT
Maximum Effort makes movies, tv series, content, and cocktails for the personal amusement of Hollywood Star Ryan Reynolds. We occasionally share them with the general public. Producers of the Deadpool films, Free Guy, The Adam Project, and Welcome to Wrexham.
ABOUT EXACT SCIENCES CORP.
A leading provider of cancer screening and diagnostic tests, Exact Sciences gives patients and health care professionals the clarity needed to take life-changing action earlier. Building on the success of the Cologuard® and Oncotype® tests, Exact Sciences is investing in its pipeline to develop innovative solutions for use before, during, and after a cancer diagnosis. For more information, visit ExactSciences.com, follow Exact Sciences on X, formerly known as Twitter @ExactSciences, or find Exact Sciences on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Press contact: email@example.com
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