As we observe National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Melania and I join the American people in remembering those family members and friends who have been lost to this terrible disease.  We extend our support to those brave individuals battling colon and rectal cancers and encourage them to always keep up the fight.

Colorectal cancer accounts for 50,000 deaths each year, the third most among all types of cancers.  Colorectal cancers affect people of every race and ethnicity, and are most prominent in people over the age of 50.  Furthermore, colorectal cancers do not always show symptoms in the early stages, often resulting in diagnoses at advanced or more aggressive stages.  Screening for colorectal cancer can lead to early detection, when treatment is more effective, and it can even prevent the development of cancer by removing polyps in the colon before they become cancerous.  It is estimated that 60 percent of deaths related to colorectal cancer could have been prevented with early detection.  This statistic reflects just how critical it is for all men and women to regularly check in with their medical provider and apply all preventative measures recommended to improve their overall health and wellbeing.  While screening is recommended for all adults ages 50 to 75, having a family history of colorectal cancer increases your risk and may require screening before age 50.  That is why familiarizing yourself with your family and medical history and talking to your doctor about it are so important.

While cancer is a horrible disease that affects millions, there is reason for optimism in the medical community.  American innovation is spurring advancements in cancer treatments, and the Department of Health and Human Services recently reported that mortality rates for most cancers are continuing to fall among men, women, and children in the United States.  Through increased knowledge about preventative lifestyle habits, early detection, and research leading to enhanced treatments, cancer—including colorectal cancer—can be prevented or treated, and remission is possible.

During National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we also recognize the community of individuals who work tirelessly throughout our country to ensure that people are informed, diagnosed, and treated promptly.  Without the efforts of medical researchers and staff and public health professionals, we would not have had the successes that we have seen in recent years.  While cancer rates continue to fall, we must continue to push forward so that more people receive the information they need to prevent and treat all cancers, including colorectal cancer.

Most importantly, we must keep everyone who has lost a friend or loved one to this disease in our hearts and encourage those brave Americans who are currently battling any form of cancer to keep fighting.  We join with everyone in praying for a future without cancer.