Community Maplewood

Maplewood Organizations Raise Colorectal Cancer Awareness and the Importance of Screening

From the Maplewood Department of Community Services, Public Health Division & SOMA Two Towns for All Ages:

Photo credits to Joy Yagid Photography

On Wednesday, March 27th, The Maplewood Department of Community Services, Public Health Division & SOMA Two Towns for All Ages partnered with ScreenNJ, the Essex Passaic Wellness Coalition and the SAVE Cancer Screening Program from the Rutgers, New Jersey Medical School to bring colon cancer awareness. ScreenNJ, a collaborative program led by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Health, healthcare and community organizations, and primary care physicians, has two major initiatives: to raise awareness and provide screening opportunities for colorectal cancer and lung cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer in the U.S.

After the small intestine absorbs most of the nutrients from what we eat and drink, the remaining waste material moves into the large intestine. The large intestine (also known as the ‘colon’) absorbs water from this waste material, creating stool which comes out of the rectum.

Photo credits to Joy Yagid Photography

Towering at twelve feet was the giant inflatable walk-through colon which allowed residents to see the inside a healthy colon and other warning signs like polyps and other outgrowths that would be seen on an endoscopy. The giant inflatable colon was provided by ScreenNJ. Rutgers, New Jersey Medical School provided free colorectal testing kits and educational materials were provided.

Here are some key facts about colorectal cancer that many people don’t realize:

  • Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women.
  • 1 in 20 people will be diagnosed in their lifetimes.
  • 25% of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer have a family history.
  • 60% of deaths could be prevented with screening.

Colorectal cancer is affecting people at younger ages

According to, data suggests that the incidence of colorectal cancer for those under 50 is on the rise and more young people are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Up to 22% of colorectal cancers cases diagnosed before the age of 50 are associated with hereditary cancer syndromes; additional cases are related to inflammatory bowel disease.

When should I see a health care provider?

Call your health care provider if you have:

  • A change in bowel habits that lasts more than a few weeks
  • A feeling of having to have a bowel movement that doesn’t go away even after doing so
  • Rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool
  • Stomach discomfort, including bloating or steady abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

For more information, contact the Maplewood Public Health Division at (973) 762-8120 or visit:

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