County Health Department Offers Free Group Presentations to Boost Public Awareness of Colorectal Cancer

In observance of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, the Allegheny County Health Department is informing the public about the importance of regular screening and education in the prevention and early detection of the disease. Colorectal cancer – cancer of the colon or rectum – is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States.  Among cancers affecting both men and women, it is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths nationwide.

The Health Department offers free group presentations that are 20 to 40 minutes long, depending on the needs of the group.  The talks cover risk factors, prevention strategies, symptoms and advised screenings for colorectal cancer. Two studies recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirm that colonoscopy, a recommended screening, reduces the death risk from colon cancer. Organizations, community groups, workplaces and churches are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to provide free health education to their members.

The presentations are conducted by Lorraine Starsky of the Health Department’s Chronic Disease Prevention Program.  An experienced public health nurse who’s had regular screenings herself, Ms. Starsky can discuss overcoming the unease that some people have about colorectal cancer screening.

The risk of colorectal cancer increases as people age, with more than 90% of cases occurring in those 50 or older.  Individuals 50 to 75 at average risk should have regular screenings, but in the U.S. only about half the people in that age group do.

For more information or to schedule a group presentation, please call Ms. Starsky at 412-247-7816 or email her at

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