HJNO Nov/Dec 2018

dialogue 26 NOV / DEC 2018 I  Healthcare Journal of new orleans   Kim Dupont Why is colon cancer screening so important? Harry Connick, Jr. We learned about the importance of early screening and early detection when Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the whole reason that she is here today primarily is because she was so adamant about getting her mammogram and sonogramdone on a regular basis. This is another situation where this particular cancer, colorectal cancer, is the second lead- ing cause of death among men and women combined, and it’s the most preventable but least prevented type of cancer. Ninety per- cent of these colon cancers can be cured if they’re detected early, and we’re thinking, why aren’t people getting screened? Loui- siana is third from the bottom in terms of that, so we just felt like it was something that was important to do. Sometimes it’s a little awkward for people to talk about colorec- tal cancer, and we want to bring it out in the open and say that there’s another option, a noninvasive option called Cologuard, and we’re happy to be able to talk about it. Dupont What do you feel the public should know about colon cancer screening? Connick, Jr.  Ninety percent of these cancers can be treated and cured if they are detected early, and that alone should get people at least interested in the idea of detection. The question I get asked the most is, what are the requirements for Cologuard? You have to be 50 or older, and you have to be of aver- age risk. You say, okay, that’s great, that’s me, but I still have to get a colonoscopy, right? The answer is no, you don’t. You have to talk to your health care provider and real- ize that a diagnostic colonoscopy will come as a result of a positive Cologuard test, but otherwise, Cologuard’s all you need. That’s what I did, and I have peace of mind now. It’s really important that people know they do have an option. Harry Connick, Jr. has exemplified excellence in every aspect of the entertainment world. The newly 50 and multi-talented musician, singer, and actor has received recognition with multiple Grammy and Emmy awards, as well as Tony nominations for his musical performances, his achievements on screens large and small, and his appearances on Broadway as both an actor and composer. Harry has done some of his most important work in helping his native New Orleans rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Harry Connick, Jr. and his wife of 24 years and former model, Jill Goodacre Connick, recently marked the fifth anniversary of Jill’s recovery from breast cancer. As Jill credits timely screening and early detection for being a cancer survivor today, she is joining Harry to share their experience and raise awareness of another cancer for which timely screening is critical: colon cancer. Their efforts support The New 50, a public education campaign sponsored by Exact Sciences that debuted during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The initiative aims to encourage people 50 and older to talk with their healthcare provider about screening, including the modern, noninvasive options that can fit into any schedule of this busy, on-the-go “new 50” generation.