ASCRS Web Site
In This Issue

President's Message

Meeting to Feature Distinguished Lecturers

Core Subject Update

Society Updates Strategic Plan

Washington Update

NIH Study Sections

Council Actions
Nominations Sought for Executive Council, Honorary Fellows
In This Issue
Annual Meeting Information
ASCRS Website
ASCRS Research Foundation
ASCRS Facebook Page



Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month helps members enhance practice value
Dr. Nicole Kafka
Dr. Nicole Kafka

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, observed each year in March, affords an excellent opportunity for Society members to enhance the community’s perception of their practice’s value in colorectal cancer prevention and management, says Dr. Nicole J. Kafka, New York, NY, Vice Chair of the Public Relations Committee.

The “public health” aspect of the National Colorectal Cancer Awareness promotion is important, but Dr. Kafka hopes members will seize the opportunity to position colorectal disease specialists as experts in treating colorectal cancer.

“In many communities, the public may identify gastroenterologists or general surgeons with colorectal cancer treatment, even though studies have shown repeatedly that management by colorectal surgeons improves outcomes – particularly in complex cases,” Dr. Kafka says.

“We are also best positioned to assess the roles of local therapy and neoadjuvant treatment. National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month provides an excellent opportunity to communicate these messages.”

Dr. Kafka suggests that members work with their hospitals, if possible, to promote the specialty. Hospital marketing and public relations staffs often have strong media contacts. They will appreciate the opportunity to work with colorectal surgeons to promote their ambulatory care facilities and endoscopy units, and to attract colorectal cancer patients.

“Effective Colorectal Cancer Month promotion increases recognition of colorectal cancer as the purview of the colorectal surgeon, benefits individual members by improving their practices, and positions colorectal surgeons as caring educators. There’s plenty of room for improvement in the public’s perception of surgeons. Even though most people say they trust their own doctors, they don’t trust doctors as a group,” she says.

“Colorectal cancer is a preventable disease. If we can be truly effective in conveying that message, we can improve the overall health of our community and let people know we’d like to come close to putting ourselves out of the business of treating advanced colorectal neoplasia,” says Dr. Kafka.


Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month materials available at

The Society’s Website offers a complete package of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month materials especially created to help members plan and execute awareness programs. Visit the ASCRS Website,, to find:

  • A customizable news release and cover letter to send to local media professionals,
  • Colorectal cancer fact sheet,
  • Patient success stories,
  • Camera-ready articles for distribution to local newspapers,
  • A sample “op-ed” piece, and other promotion materials.

Members may also download a colorectal cancer screening brochure for patients and colorectal cancer awareness posters for display in their offices. The Website also features instructions on how to hold patient education seminars and strategies for conducting media relations efforts.

To complement individual member activities, the Society conducts a continuing national media relations effort. However, experience shows that the old saw about politics applies also to media: all media are local. Ultimately, the media in each community prefer to rely on local information sources.

The goal of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is to generate widespread awareness about colorectal cancer at the local and national levels. It encourages people to learn more about ways to reduce their risk through screening and by adopting healthy lifestyles.