Greenville, S.C. – Have a question for a doctor about colon cancer or the importance of preventive screenings? Ready to make a commitment to undergo a screening?
Upstate residents will get those opportunities and more during the Greenville Drive’s annual “Drive Out Colon Cancer” baseball game on June 24. The event is sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina along with other health organizations that are collaborating to raise awareness of colon cancer and the importance of screenings and early detection.
Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in South Carolina and nationally, but it is largely preventable. Regular screenings allow doctors to remove polyps – precancerous growths on the inside lining of the colon – before they become cancer. Screenings are recommended beginning at age 50, and earlier for those with a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors.
Physicians from Gastroenterology Associates, P.A, of Greenville will be available to talk with fans during the game at the “Ask a Doctor” station, located on the stadium concourse. Fans will receive information about colon cancer prevention, hear from survivors of the disease, and have an opportunity to sign a card pledging to be screened or to talk with a loved one about screening.
The Drive will play in special blue jerseys (blue is the “color” for colon cancer), and blue bases will be used. A special guest, an Upstate colon cancer survivor, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The 4 p.m. game at Fluor Field will feature the Drive against the Charleston RiverDogs.
The game is part of the ongoing “Love Your Colon” awareness campaign (www.LoveYourColon.org) created by BlueCross along with the South Carolina Gastroenterology Association, the University of South Carolina’s Center for Colon Cancer Research, CVS Caremark and Genentech.
“In South Carolina, only half to two-thirds of residents who should undergo a screening actually do so,” said Dr. Laura Long, BlueCross’ vice president of clinical innovation and population health. “That number is not acceptable. We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Greenville Drive and the Love Your Colon organizations for helping us raise awareness of this critical health issue.”
The Drive Out Colon Cancer game is one example of how BlueCross is working to increase colon cancer screenings in the Upstate. In another program, BlueCross joined with Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center last fall to raise awareness of colon cancer in the workplace. As a result, more than 1,400 Upstate workers have pledged to either have a screening or to try to persuade a relative or friend to have one.
Improving colon cancer screening rates is among BlueCross’ many initiatives that rely on collaboration with physicians, hospitals and its customers to achieve the Triple Aim of improved health outcomes, enhanced patient experience and reduced cost.