Installation on National Mall raises awareness about colorectal cancer

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 9:28 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - More than 27,000 blue flags are flying in the wind on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Each one is a representation of the number of young adults predicted to be diagnosed with a battle that Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) is familiar with.

“My wife Shannon is a 23-year colon cancer survivor,” said Rep. Davis. “Luckily we found it at stage two.”

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. According to the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is now a leading cause of cancer death in both men and women ages 20-49 in the United States. By 2030, diagnosis for young adults is expected to rise from 18,000 to 27,000 annually as estimated by medical researchers. While researchers have yet to fully understand what’s causing an increase in cases, the Institute says there’s been an uptick since 1995.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends adults begin screenings at 45 years old.

Anjee Davis is the President of the Fight Colorectal Cancer organization.

“One of the asks we have of our policy makers is to increase screenings and increase federal funding,” she said.

Rep. Davis said lawmakers are working to remove screening barriers.

“We’ve been working with the national institutes of health,” he said. “We funded the National Cancer Institute and the NIH with historic funding over the last few years.”

In Dec. 2020, the House passed the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act. The legislation was later included and passed in an end-of-year package signed into law.

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