FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PREAKNESS STAKES THOROUGHBREDS CARRY SYMBOL OF HOPE FOR COLORECTAL CANCER AS THEY RACE FOR GLORY
Race Officials Team Up with Cancer Survivor to Encourage Screenings Among Race Fans
Bowie, MD [May 17, 2006] – On Saturday, May 20, all thoroughbreds at this year’s 131st Preakness Stakes at Primlico Race Course will be sporting something new on their saddlecloths: the colorectal cancer symbol of hope. Janet Turcotte, colorectal cancer survivor and longtime Pimlico friend, has embroidered Preakness saddlecloths for over two decades. This year, Pimlico Race course is supporting Janet as she raises awareness of the importance of colorectal screening for early detection and treatment by placing an embroidered colorectal cancer “star” on the saddlecloths of the nine contenders. Race course officials hope to encourage the 17 million viewers of this weekend’s race to get screened as nearly one million of them will be at risk for developing the disease. Viewers need to know that colorectal cancer can be prevented through regular screenings.
Janet was formerly married to the brother of Triple Crown jockey Ron Turcotte. “Janet has been a part of the Preakness for many years. We are proud to support her efforts in raising awareness in the fight against colorectal cancer,” said Karin De Francis, executive vice president of Pimlico Race Course.
Janet, an advocate for C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition™, was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer three years ago at the age of 53, and is currently battling a third recurrence of the disease. “The event this weekend is important to me because I didn’t learn the facts about colorectal cancer – especially that it’s preventable – until I was diagnosed with late stage disease,” said Janet. “As the thoroughbreds carry this symbol in the race to the finish line, I can only hope that through awareness and prevention, we too can win the race against colorectal cancer.”
Approximately 149,000 men and women, typically over the age of 50, will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, a disease that contributes to more than 55,000 deaths annually. Those at the highest risk for developing colorectal cancer include people age 50 and over, those with a family history of the disease or a personal history of polyps and/or bowel disease, and those who are overweight or consume a high fat diet.
Colorectal cancer can be prevented through regular screenings, which allow physicians to identify and remove pre-cancerous polyps before they turn into cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if everyone aged 50 years or older were screened regularly, as many as 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented. When colorectal cancer is found early and treated, the five-year survival rate is greater than 90 percent.
“Colonoscopies are the preferred screening procedure, but many people neglect to have them because they are embarrassed or afraid,” said Nancy Roach, founder, president and chair of C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition. “If you’re over 50 or have a family history, make your appointment today and encourage a friend to do the same. It’s time for everyone to do their part to put an end to colorectal cancer.”
About C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition™
C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition is a national organization whose mission is to eliminate suffering and death due to colorectal cancer. C3 pushes for research to improve screening, diagnosis, and treatment of colorectal cancer; for policy decisions that make the most effective colorectal cancer prevention and treatment available to all; and for increased awareness that colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable. For more information visit http://www.fightcolorectalcancer.org.
The Universal Symbol for Colorectal Cancer: