Vermont Summit on Colon Cancer to be Held March 8 - Gov. Douglas to Declare March as Colon Cancer Awareness Month

DATE: March 6, 2006
Contact: Communication Office

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Summit on Colon Cancer, March 8 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel in South Burlington, will address how to overcome barriers to screening patients for colon cancer, the third leading cause of cancer deaths in Vermont.

“Cancer of the colon is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both men and women,” said Gov. Jim Douglas, who will proclaim March as Colon Cancer Awareness Month at the event. “We need to continue to promote screening and stay focused and dedicated to reducing the impact of cancer for all Vermonters.”

The Vermont State Cancer Plan, part of the Governor’s Vermont Blueprint for Health, has outlined measures to prevent future cancers, detect new cancers earlier, increase access to cancer care and improve both end-of-life care and quality of life for people living with cancer.

“The five year survival rate of colon cancer is 90 percent when diagnosed at an early stage, yet only 36% of colorectal cancers in Vermont are diagnosed early, when they are most treatable,” said Sharon Moffatt, RN, Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health. Moffatt will speak about the state’s chronic disease priorities at 12:30 p.m. “The incidence of colorectal cancer increases dramatically with age. Vermont has nearly 200,000 citizens over age 50, and this age group accounts for approximately 85 percent of new cancer diagnosis. Improved screening for people over 50 can make a significant difference.”

A primary goal of the Vermont State Cancer Plan is to increase colorectal cancer screening. Currently, only 59% of Vermonters over age 50 meet screening guidelines for colorectal cancer.

An average of 176 men and 179 women are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, or approximately 11 percent of all cancers diagnosed in men and 12 percent in women in Vermont during 1998-2002.

Key speakers at the event are Dr. Durado Brooks, director of Prostate and Colorectal Cancers, American Cancer Society, and Dr. Lynn F. Butterly, from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

The summit is supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and there is no registration fee. To attend, register by e-mail:, or fax (802) 872-6399.

VTAAC (Vermonters Taking Action Against Cancer) is a statewide partnership that worked with the Vermont Department of Health to write the new Vermont State Cancer Plan, 2006-2010. The plan, released in December 2005, identifies priority strategies for action to reduce the impact of cancer on all Vermonters. More information is available at