News & Events

Montana Joins Nationwide Effort to Increase Screening and

Save Lives from Colorectal Cancer

Helena, MT—March 1, 2017 — Colorectal cancer screening saves lives, and Montana health care systems and organizations are leading the way to urge more Montanans to get screened for the disease. The American Cancer Society of Montana, the Montana Cancer Coalition (MTCC) and the Montana Cancer Control Programs (MCCP) today applauded several Montana health systems and public health organizations for supporting the 80% by 2018 initiative, led by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (an organization co-founded by ACS and CDC).

Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. However, colorectal cancer is not only highly treatable if detected early, but regular screening can actually prevent this cancer entirely with the discovery and removal of hidden growths (called “polyps”) in the colon, before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether.

“80% by 2018” is a National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) initiative in which more than 1,000 organizations have committed to substantially reducing colorectal cancer as a major public health problem for those 50 and older. These organizations are working toward the shared goal of 80% of adults aged 50 and older being regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.  Leading public health organizations, such as ACS, CDC and the NCCRT are rallying organizations to embrace this shared goal.

“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem, and adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it, but we have found that many people aren’t getting tested because they don’t believe they are at risk, don’t understand that there are testing options or don’t think they can afford it,” said Lisa Troyer, Section Supervisor, Montana Cancer Control Programs, Department of Public Health and Human Services. “The vast majority of cases of colorectal cancer occur in people age 50 and older. Colorectal cancer in its early stages usually has no symptoms, so everyone 50 and older should get tested.”

Troyer said there are several screening options – even take home options – available.  Public and private insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening as a preventive service, she said.

While colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped 30 percent in the U.S. in the past 10 years among adults 50 and older, it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S, despite being highly preventable, detectable and treatable. According to the Montana Cancer Control Programs, from 2005-2014 colorectal cancer was the third leading cause of death in Montana, with 180 deaths each year and an estimated 500 new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed each year. As of 2016, 62 percent of Montana adults were up-to-date with colorectal cancer screenings, an increase from 56 percent in 2012. To reach 80% by 2018, an additional 60,000 Montanans will need to be screened for colorectal cancer.

The following Montana-based organizations have pledged support for the 80% by 2018 initiative: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, Central Montana Family Planning, Central Montana Health District, Central Montana Medical Center, Community Health Care Center (Great Falls), Community Medical Center (Missoula), Kalispell Regional Healthcare, Lewis and Clark Public Health, Montana Cancer Coalition, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Montana Primary Care Association, Mountain Pacific Quality Health Foundation, Pacific Source Health Plans, RiverStone Health and Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council.

“We applaud our statewide partners and healthcare professionals who have pledged to monitor and increase colorectal cancer screening toward the ambitious goal of 80% by 2018,” said Emily Coyle, MPH, health systems manager for the American Cancer Society in Montana and co-chair of the Montana Cancer Coalition. “By working together as a collaborative team and continuing to share resources and expertise, we are more strongly positioned than ever before to reduce suffering from colorectal cancer and save lives.”

Several educational and awareness activities are planned throughout March for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Among these activities is the Governor’s Hoops Challenge, part of the American Cancer Society’s Suits and Sneakers Campaign to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society’s research, education, advocacy and patient services programs. Governor Steve Bullock will officially launch the Governor’s Hoops Challenge on March 14, which will invite state employees to wear sneakers with their suits or collegiate apparel on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the tournament in exchange for a $5 donation to ACS.

For more information on colorectal cancer or the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable and 80% by 2018 Initiative, visit

Ø  For signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer, click here.

Ø  For an outline of colorectal cancer screening tests, click here.

Ø  For five colorectal cancer myths, click here.

Ø  For information about insurance coverage of colorectal cancer screening, including under the Affordable Care Act, click here.


About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than 3 million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. We’re finding cures as the nation’s largest private, nonprofit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more.  Call 1-800-227-2345 or visit

 About the Montana Cancer Control Programs

The Montana Cancer Control Programs (MCCP) is housed within the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The MCCP works to increase quality of life for Montanans through cancer prevention and early detection. The MCCP provides breast and cervical cancer screenings to eligible Montanans, technical assistance to health systems and insurance companies to improve colorectal cancer screening rates, works with worksites and healthcare clinics in local communities throughout Montana to increase cancer awareness and screenings and collects high-quality data on over 95% of all cancers diagnosed or treated in Montana for cancer surveillance.  The MCCP convenes and supports the Montana Cancer Coalition. For more information visit:  

About the Montana Cancer Coalition

 The Montana Cancer Coalition (MTCC) is a group of diverse individuals and organizations from communities throughout Montana who work to reduce cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality across the cancer continuum. The MTCC developed the Montana Comprehensive Cancer Control (CCC) Plan, as a document for preventing and controlling cancer in Montana. The CCC Plan allows coalition members to utilize a coordinated approach to controlling cancer and is a guide for achieving their over-arching goals. For more information visit:


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