We have a new project at C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition that I’ve been dying to blog about for a while now. We’ve finally launched it this week.
In the meantime, Problogger.net is doing a contest where they will give a $1,000 donation to a charity, based on a post about it linked back to their site (random draw, but still). Scroll down to the end of the entry for some info on C3 for the Problogger folks who never read this blog.
For the rest of you who are already well familiar with C3’s mission because I’ve been talking about it constantly for the past 2 years, let me tell you about our new campaign.
Let’s start with a little background…
The “Get Screened” Message
Fact: Your biggest risk for getting colorectal cancer is not about whether you ate your fruits and vegetables. It’s about the calendar. The older you are…the longer your colon has been doing its thing, the higher your risk.
Fact: Colorectal cancer is preventable. Folks who are at “average” risk, which means that they are over the age of 50, but do not have any visible symptoms of illness can still have early colorectal cancer and have that cancer eliminated in the process of looking for it. Think about that for a minute. Ladies, you get a mammogram or pap smear, or guys, you get a PSA and if the results are suspect you have to go for another test or procedure to do something about it. With colorectal cancer screening (if the screening method is colonoscopy, which is a whole ‘nother argument) the cancer can be snipped out if they find it when they’re looking for it.
How cool is that? If my father had that simple test in 1991 to celebrate his 50th birthday, he would have celebrated his 66th birthday in July. Instead, come February, we’re marking the 9th anniversary of his death. If you’re over 50, which milestone do you want your loved ones to be thinking about?
The Financial Problem
Katie Couric and our fine colleagues in the cancer community have really stepped it up in the past few years to get the “Get Screened” message out there. We at C3 are proud to join our voice to theirs.
But despite all this attention to colorectal cancer prevention, still only around 40% (on average) of people who should be screened are getting screened. Why? Well, if you should be screened but haven’t (or you have a loved one who should but hasn’t) which is the reason why not:
- “Ewwwwww….you want to put what where? I don’t think so. I’m healthy. I’m fine. Leave me alone.”
- “Yes, I know I need to get screened. I’m fine with that. But I don’t have very good insurance (or any insurance at all) and that’s an expensive test.”
If #1 sounds like you…get over it. Are we talking birthdays or funerals? It’s that simple.
#2 is a bigger nut to crack. Right now, programs to provide screening for those without adequate insurance, or to make sure that loopholes are closed in coverage under Medicare are spotty at best. We know that when cost is not an issue people do tend to get the test done. When the test gets done, not only are lives saved but there’s a cost benefit to the society…do I even have to compare screening to cancer treatment? I didn’t think so.
C3 is about action and advocacy for colorectal cancer. Right now, there are 3…count ’em 3…pieces of legislation sitting on Capitol Hill that can make a huge difference in covering the costs of colorectal cancer screening for average risk Americans.
- HR 1738: The Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Act will establish a program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide colorectal cancer screenings and treatment for low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals who are not eligible for Medicare.
- HR 1926/S 1164: The Colon Cancer Screen for Life Act will expand existing Medicare coverage of colorectal cancer screening to include pre-procedure visits and other reimbursements, minimizing the out-of-pocket expenses for our nations elderly.
- HR 3060: The Colorectal Cancer Screening and Detection Coverage Act would require private health insurance plans to provide coverage for colorectal cancer. Plus, the bill will protect anyone from being denied a policy due to their need for colorectal cancer screening.
Poor people, old people and everyone else. All covered. COVERED. C3 helped the bill sponsors introduce HR 1738 and HR 3060. All together, it’s good legislation that deserves to be passed once and for all.
Which leads me to…
We wanted to find a way to get the word out about these bills that goes beyond the tired action alert. So CoverYourButt.org was born. Yes, the goal is to get you to send an email to your Senators and Representative and ask them to support these 3 bills. No doubt about it. Go do that now so I will stop nagging you about it. Thank you. We are also talking directly to the Members of Congress about the bills, letting them know why it’s important. But if their constituents aren’t talking to them about it too, it won’t happen.
How is a small nonprofit getting the word out on a shoestring budget? We are, after all, a 501(c)3 nonprofit and there are rules about these things. We started with CoverYourButt.org. It’s hosted on WordPress.com. Easy updates, blog and static pages, low maintenance, domain redirect, custom CSS. Grand total, including domain registration: about $40.
Next I designed a logo for the campaign that (I hope) is cute and will get a snicker, but not be offensive. Agree? By the way, you do not want to see the images I used for inspiration in that design. ::shudder::
We’ve got gear. We’re starting with CafePress because it’s what I know and it’s been around forever, but I’m looking at other print-on-demand sites like Zazzle.com. The idea is that we are trying to avoid spending money on stuff that’s going to sit on shelves. It’s not about making a profit for C3. It’s about different ways we can get the “Cover Your Butt” URL and message out there. Guess what our advocates will be wearing on Capitol Hill when they come for Call-on Congress next year?
Over the next few months, we are going to try everything we can think of. Facebook group? We’re doing that. MySpace group? Oh, alright. Sure, why not. Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, you name it. Whatever it takes for a small, scrappy organization focused on healthy tushies to get the Cover Your Butt site and message up on as many monitors as possible.
We’ve learned that almost everyone knows someone who was affected by colorectal cancer (unless you’re Governor Richardson). Even if this has absolutely nothing to do with your life right now, you’ll get there soon enough. Take the steps you need now to make sure that this life-saving test is there and affordable for you when you need it.
So What the Heck is C3, Anyway?
Glad you asked. Our mission statement:
C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition is a national, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to eliminate suffering and death due to colon and rectal cancer through advocacy.
C3 pushes for research to improve screening, diagnosis, and treatment of colorectal cancer; for policy decisions that make the most effective colon and rectal cancer prevention and treatment available to all; and for increased awareness that colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable.
Visit our website at www.FightColorectalCancer.org