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[junkie-alert style=”white”] Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) has made the pledge to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates by supporting the 80% by 2018 initiative, led by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (a coalition co-founded by the ACS and CDC). [/junkie-alert]
While colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped in the United States among adults 50 and older, it is nonetheless the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. However, it is also one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Through colorectal cancer screening, physicians can find and remove hidden growths, or polyps, in the colon, before they become cancerous.
The 80% by 2018 initiative is a National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) campaign in which hundreds of organizations have committed to substantially reducing colorectal cancer as a major public health problem. These organizations are working toward the shared goal of 80 percent of adults ages 50 and older being regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018. The initiative consists of health care providers, health systems, communities, businesses, community health centers, government, nonprofit organizations, and patient advocacy groups, among others. If that 80 percent goal can be reached by 2018, 277,000 cases and 203,000 colorectal cancer deaths would be prevented by 2030.
As a primary point of contact for patients in the health care process, medical assistants are in an influential position to reduce barriers to screening through practice improvements and committed action. Medical assisting is one of the nation’s careers growing much faster than average for all occupations, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Medical assistants work predominantly in outpatient health care settings. Employers are seeking and recruiting these allied health professionals because of their uniquely diverse clinical and administrative patient-centered training.
The mission of the American Association of Medical Assistants is to provide the medical assistant professional with education, certification, credential acknowledgment, networking opportunities, scope-of-practice protection, and advocacy for quality patient-centered health care.