American Cancer Society Chief Cancer Control Officer Dr. Richard Wender is set to keynote the first-ever Arizona Colorectal Cancer Roundtable on Monday, April 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Desert Willow Conference Center in Phoenix.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States for men and women when combined, but incidence and mortality rates can be reduced with screening. Arizona ranks 43 out of 51 states (including the District of Columbia) for up-to-date colorectal cancer screenings.

“The number of colon cancer cases and deaths has been dropping rapidly for over a decade and now is the right time to accelerate our progress by convening all key stakeholders to rapidly and dramatically increase screening rates to reach our national goal of having 80 percent of eligible individuals up to date with screening by the end of 2018,” said Dr. Wender. “Today, Arizona’s screening rates are among the lowest in the nation, but this event is going to catalyze progress towards reaching the 80 percent goal.  The American Cancer Society is honored and thrilled to be able to convene this critically important meeting.”

A collaborative partnership between the American Cancer Society, Arizona Department of Health Services, the Colon Cancer Alliance, and partners throughout the state, the Roundtable is dedicated to reducing the incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer in Arizona through coordinated leadership, strategic planning and advocacy.

The Roundtable will convene key stakeholders including physicians, hospitals, quality improvement organizations, industry groups, and Federally Qualified Health Centers from around the state for open dialogue aimed at improving screening rates. This is the first meeting of its kind to address colorectal cancer through private and public health leaders.

Charged with increasing the use of proven colorectal cancer screening tests among Arizona’s entire population for whom screening is appropriate, the Roundtable has the opportunity to make a greater impact on colorectal cancer through a united effort, promoting the education and awareness of colorectal cancer for patients and providers, reducing barriers to colorectal cancer screening through policy and advocacy and ultimately increasing Arizona colorectal cancer screening rates to 80 percent by 2018.

Additional speakers at the Arizona Colorectal Cancer Roundtable will include Peter Lance, MD, University of Arizona Cancer Center, and Chief of Arizona Cancer Registry, Georgia Yee, BSW, CTR, Arizona Department of Health Services.