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For Immediate Release

August 7, 2008

Contact Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or marla.augustine@dhhs.ne.gov

 

Stay in the Game—Get Screened for Colon Cancer

Lincoln—The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and other partners are kicking off a special promotional campaign targeting Nebraska men and women over 50 who haven’t been screened for colon cancer.

“It’s a challenge to get men screened. This new promotional campaign is designed to get their attention through something that gets their attention—sports,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health.

Husker football programs will feature spreads with Jerry Tagge, Nebraska’s All-American quarterback in 1970-1971. Tagge is the campaign spokesperson.

There will be gas pump toppers at 13 gas stations in north Omaha, featuring Johnny Rodgers (Heisman trophy winner 1972), with tear-offs containing information about how to enroll in the program online or by toll-free number.

DHHS has chosen to place special emphasis on north Omaha because mortality due to colon cancer is significantly higher for African Americans. The mortality rate for African Americans in 1996-2005 was 30.8 cases per 100,000 population. For whites, it was 20.9 cases.

Enrollees in the program will be eligible for prizes. Winners of random drawings will get some type of sports memorabilia if they can show they have been screened (a certificate signed by Tagge, Rodgers or Tom Osborne) or tickets for basketball and baseball games.

The campaign will include print, TV and radio ads. The print ads will feature Tagge in a vintage photo running with the ball, “staying in the game.” Radio and TV ads will be used in pre- and post-game shows. Radio ads will feature either Tagge or Jim Rose from Husker Sports Network. TV ads will feature Tagge.

The kickoff is today at 5:30, Memorial Stadium, with:

  • Jerry Tagge
  • Johnny Rodgers (invited)
  • Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer
  • Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy
  • Dr Alan G. Thorson, colorectal surgeon
  • Jim Rose

Nebraska has one of the lowest screening rates in the country. Approximately 920 new diagnoses and 350 deaths occurred in Nebraska last year.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death (after lung cancer) in the U.S. Regular colon cancer screening can make a dramatic difference.

The partners, in addition to DHHS: Nebraska Medical Association, American Cancer Society, Nebraska CARES (Cancer Awareness, Research, Education and Service—a coalition of over100 associations and individuals addressing cancer), and the Husker Sports Network.

For more information about colon cancer, go to the DHHS Web site at www.dhhs.ne.gov

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