MINNEAPOLIS, March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Colorectal cancer is one of the top three leading causes of cancer-related deaths for both men and women, but only 64% of Minnesotans are getting the care they need to reduce their risk.
"Colon tests can stop cancer before it starts. Unfortunately, many Minnesotans still have not been screened," said Matt Flory, Minnesota Director of Healthcare Partnerships with the American Cancer Society. He and a broad coalition of healthcare partners in Minnesota hope to improve screening by making it easier for Minnesotans to understand how their care measures up to guidelines. A national and regional coalition of several organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Minnesota Cancer Alliance, the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement and MN Community Measurement, has been working to increase the rates of screening for colorectal cancer. Coalition members have up-to-the minute information that can help Minnesotans make smart choices about optimal care. The coalition's goal is to reduce both the incidence of the disease and the number of deaths.
Coalition members are urging Minnesotans to observe Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this March by taking steps to safeguard their health. One of those steps is to visit mnhealthscores.org to see how their clinic compares to the screening guidelines.
MN Community Measurement, the non-profit organization behind MNHealthScores, has updated and expanded its data on the rates at which Minnesotans are receiving timely, age-appropriate colorectal cancer screening. The first important change is that Minnesotans can now find information about the clinic where they receive care (before it was limited to the medical group level). The second improvement is that more older Minnesotans are now being included in the data. This is important because that group is diagnosed with colorectal cancer more frequently than younger patients.
"Only 64% of Minnesotans statewide are getting appropriate colorectal cancer screenings," said Jim Chase, President of MN Community Measurement. He emphasized that this is an important topic and a good time for Minnesotans to determine if they and their medical providers are doing everything possible to prevent, detect and treat colorectal cancer.
Collaboration among providers, staff, specialty physicians and patients led to strong results for CentraCare Clinic in St. Cloud, Minn. The nine clinics in the CentraCare Clinic system for the most recent reporting period all had above-average rankings in meeting the screening guidelines for colorectal cancer screening.
"Frontline staff conduct pre-visit planning to identify who needs to be screened, and the providers are good at making sure that patients understand the importance of screening," said David Tilstra, MD, Medical Director for CentraCare Clinic. "Our gastro-intestinal specialty physicians really helped as well. They go to several of the clinic sites to perform the screening procedures. The whole team is working together to get the service done."
MNHealthScores can help Minnesotans determine how well their own clinics are meeting the guidelines.
"We hope that publication of this data will encourage consumers to work with their doctor to make sure they are getting the appropriate screening," Chase said.
Colorectal cancer develops when a small tissue growth in the large intestine turns cancerous over a period of several months to several years. Patients can sharply reduce the risk of death simply by undergoing screening to detect and remove these growths early. Thanks to improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment, more than a million people in the United States count themselves as survivors.
To see how well your clinic is meeting the guidelines for colorectal cancer screening, visit mnhealthscores.org.
To learn more about colorectal cancer prevention and detection, go to http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/ColonandRectumCancer/index
About MN Community Measurement
MN Community Measurement, the non-profit organization behind MNHealthScores, is dedicated to improving the quality of health care in Minnesota by publicly reporting quality results. MN Community Measurement is a collaborative that works with health plans, clinics, employers and consumers to spur quality improvement, reduce health care costs and maximize value.
SOURCE MN Community Measurement