March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. It is also one of the most preventable. This March, we continue to encourage men and women 50 and older to make getting tested for colorectal cancer a priority. Regularly scheduled colorectal cancer screening can help save lives.

Two North Dakota colorectal cancer survivors share their personal stories of their health journey in the videos linked below. The videos are the result of a collaboration with the BCBSND Caring Foundation and the North Dakota Colorectal Cancer Roundtable. The videos were produced by KAT Marketing.

Elliott Rhodes of Fort Yates, N.D., and Amanda Houston of Fargo share their personal colorectal cancer stories in the videos. Please take the time to view these videos and feel free to repost, share and promote.

After experiencing symptoms, Elliott saw a physician assistant at the Indian Health Services clinic where he lives. Now a 12-year survivor of colorectal cancer, Elliott isn’t afraid to speak out about screening and early diagnosis. “I know men like myself, and other men, we’re all macho and we’re all tough and we don’t want to have nothing bother us,” he says in the video. “But oftentimes, we wait until it’s too late.”

Amanda was diagnosed with Stage 2 colon cancer at the age of 34. Soon after, her mother was also diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent treatment. Both Amanda and her mother are cancer-free now, and Amanda has made it her mission to educate the public about screening and early detection. “It’s so treatable, and it’s so beatable, if it’s caught in the early stages,” she says in the video.

Thanks to improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment, more than a million people in the United States count themselves as survivors of colorectal cancer. For more information and related resources, visit the American Cancer Society site.

The Great Plains QIN recently completed an 18-month Special Innovation Project that allowed us to partner with physician clinics to help implement processes that ensure colorectal cancer screening recommendations and follow ups for all patients. While we are no longer actively engaged in this work, we invite you to utilize any of the following tools, resources, and educational events to continue improving colorectal cancer screening rates in our region. Feel free to contact a member of our team if you have questions. We also encourage you to reach out to your state’s American Cancer Society representative for additional assistance and resources.