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Colorectal Cancer Screening and Prevention Should Be Central to Healthcare Reform, Experts Say at Olympus/C3 Forum

National Gathering Highlights Achievements in CRC Prevention and Identifies Opportunities to Expand Screening to Underserved Populations

Washington, D.C., January 28, 2010 – With health reform legislation under intense debate and an increased focus on prevention, leaders from the administration and the gastroenterology and colorectal cancer (CRC) communities spoke today of the need to elevate CRC screening and prevention to a national policy priority. Olympus and C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition brought together many of the nation’s preeminent CRC experts for “The State of Colorectal Cancer Screening and Prevention Forum” to explore and discuss actionable next steps to expand access to screening for underserved populations.

"Now is the time to reaffirm our national commitment to CRC prevention which began in the 1990s during President Clinton’s administration," said F. Mark Gumz, President and CEO of Olympus Corporation of the Americas. "We have the technology and expertise today to effectively prevent and treat CRC, but unfortunately, there are still close to 150,000 new cases and 50,000 deaths annually from this disease. CRC screening and prevention should be a central focus of reform implementation because it provides the high quality, cost effective health outcomes we all want from our healthcare system.”

Support for improved CRC screening and prevention was echoed in President Obama’s September 2009 healthcare reform address to a joint session of Congress, where he stated that colonoscopies should be covered universally “because there's no reason we shouldn't be catching diseases like … colon cancer before they get worse.”

When CRC is detected early and treated, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. However, less than 50 percent of U.S. adults aged 50 and older have been screened according to recommended guidelines. Due to low screening rates, less than 40 percent of colorectal cancers are found early.

The Forum featured two panels of CRC experts who discussed clinical trends, health system capacity and legislative solutions to make screening more accessible. Forum speakers and panelists included:

  • Ms. Carlea Bauman, President, C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition
  • Dr. Gregory Ginsberg, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of Endoscopy, University of Pennsylvania Health System
  • Mr. F. Mark Gumz, President and CEO, Olympus Corporation of the Americas
  • Dr. David Johnson, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology, Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Ms. Catherine Knowles, Director of Policy, C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition
  • Dr. Ronald Myers, PhD, Professor and Director, Division of Population Science, Department of Medical Oncology, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Dr. Patrick Okolo, MD, Chief of Endoscopy, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Dr. Douglas Rex, MD, Director of Endoscopy at Indiana University Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Dr. Laura Seeff, MD, Acting Branch Chief, Comprehensive Cancer Control Branch, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Mr. David Woodmansee, Senior Specialist for State and Local Campaigns, Colorectal Cancer, American Cancer Society
Olympus and C3 support proactive efforts to expand access to CRC screening, including H.R. 1189, the Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Act, sponsored by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI). The legislation would establish a national screening and treatment program for colorectal cancer similar to what currently is in place for breast and cervical cancer.

"Today’s discussion showcased that while we have made important progress raising awareness about the need for CRC screening, there is more we must do to bring screening to all at-risk people," said Carlea Bauman, President of C3. "H.R. 1189 would make real progress in improving the nation’s CRC screening rate.”

Olympus, C3 and other Forum participants will continue throughout the year the important dialogue started at today’s event. As the health reform discussion continues, it will be critical to drive action on CRC issues.

For more information on Olympus initiatives to raise awareness about CRC education, screening and prevention, visit www.crcawareness.com and www.crcadvocacy.com.

About Olympus
Olympus is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering innovative solutions in its core business areas: Medical and Surgical Products, Life Science Imaging Systems, Industrial Testing Instruments and Cameras and Audio Products. 
Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and affiliates worldwide to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
  • Advanced research, clinical and educational microscopes and clinical digital imaging systems;
  • Industrial research, engineering, test, inspection and measuring instrument; and
  • Digital cameras and voice recorders.

Olympus serves the healthcare field with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers to efficiently, reliably and more easily achieve exceptional results. Olympus develops breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality for the consumer and professional photography markets, and also is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com.

 About C3
C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition pushes for research to improve screening, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer; for policy decisions that make the most effective prevention and treatment available to all; and for increased awareness that colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable. For more information, visit www.FightColorectalCancer.org.

For more information:

Olympus Contact:

Megan Longenderfer
(484) 896-5579

GolinHarris Contact: 
Shannon Varroney
(703) 741-7057

C3 Contact:
Catherine Knowles
(703) 548-1225 ext. 12