National, Regional Experts Gather to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

About 200 health professionals and national leaders working to prevent colorectal cancer and save lives by promoting screening will gather at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans from June 27-29 for the 3rd Annual Southeastern Colorectal Cancer Consortium hosted by LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, LSU Health Shreveport, and the American Cancer Society. The goal of the Louisiana Colorectal Cancer Roundtable event is to share best practices, exchange ideas, formulate policies, and develop collaborative efforts to promote colorectal cancer screening.

This year’s speakers include national experts Faye Wong, MPH, program services branch chief, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC; Robert Smith, PhD, vice president, cancer screening, American Cancer Society; and Richard Wender, MD, chief cancer control officer, American Cancer Society, National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable. Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee will welcome the group.

Topics include what’s happening with colorectal cancer around the nation, the new colorectal cancer screening guidelines, precision public health strategies, engaging the unengaged with some “serious fun,” as well as what’s on the horizon.           

Participants include leaders and advocates in each of the states represented in the consortium – Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico – from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, including government agencies, nonprofits, medical practices, hospitals, health clinics, community medical centers, universities, and insurance providers.

“We discuss challenges and barriers that continue to confound colorectal cancer screening rates and share knowledge, tools, resources, and strategic approaches that can significantly impact colorectal cancer screening,” noted conference co-chair Colleen Huard, MPH, colorectal cancer manager at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health’s Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs.

Louisiana has the third highest incidence of colorectal cancer and the third highest colorectal cancer death rate in the United States. The Bayou Parishes – Acadiana, Southwest Louisiana, Central Louisiana, and Northwest Louisiana – have the highest colorectal cancer death rates in the state. Colorectal cancer is one of the more expensive cancers to treat.

"Colorectal cancer screening can prevent colorectal cancer or detect it early when it's potentially curable," says Donna Williams, DrPH, director, Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs and associate dean at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. "Our goal is to increase the colorectal cancer screening rate to 80% by the end of this year."