Olympus Launches Awareness Initiatives in Support of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Leader in GI Endoscopy Promotes Screening for Colorectal Cancer
that Affects Millions of Americans Nationwide

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., March 10, 2014 – Olympus, a precision technology leader in designing and delivering innovative solutions in Medical and Surgical Products, among other core businesses, announced today its efforts in promoting National Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Awareness Month. March 2014 marks the 15th annual National CRC Awareness Month, observed annually to educate the community on this prevalent disease and promote awareness for cancer screening, prevention and testing. Primary among the initiatives is its partnership with Dr. Douglas Rex, a nationally-recognized colonoscopy expert and pioneer.

Colorectal cancer continues to be a major health issue: Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control). Nearly 143,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year, and an estimated 51,000 people will die from it (American Cancer Society). The cost to care for colorectal cancer is estimated to be more than $50,000 in the first year of diagnosis alone (National Cancer Institute).

Colorectal cancer is preventable with early and regular screening. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for colorectal cancer by one of several tests, including a colonoscopy, beginning at age 50 years and continuing until age 75 years. Still only about 60 percent of American adults aged 50 and older get screened for colorectal cancer (American College of Physicians).

To improve the percentage of patients who are recommended for screening, actually seeking it out, many organizations promote awareness about the disease’s dangers and preventability. Among Olympus’ activities during this important health awareness month are:

  • Partnering with Professor Douglas Rex, M.D. on a satellite TV and radio media tour to provide interviews nationwide about the benefits of screening for colorectal cancer. In addition, Dr. Rex will discuss the importance of colonoscopy in early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer.
  • Sponsoring a Colon Cancer Coalition “Get Your Rear in Gear” 4-mile run to raise cancer awareness and positively impact screening rates, Sunday March 23rd in Philadelphia. Registration information is available at: http://getyourrearingear.com/events/list/2014/philadelphia-pa-2014/
  • Hosting a CRC educational event at Olympus with Dr. Steven Lichtenstein, Director of the Division of Gastroenterology at Philadelphia’s Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, scheduled for March 21st at the Olympus’ Center Valley headquarters for the Americas.  Dr. Lichtenstein will educate participants about the disease and share compelling patient stories of colon cancer survival.
  • Motivating employees to become educators about the importance of colorectal screening within the community. For example, Olympus is empowering employees to discuss CRC screening with friends and family through a variety of educational materials such as palm cards and magnets.

“Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard of screening for early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Douglas Rex, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Indiana University, MD, FACP, AGAF, FACG, FASGE. “A colonoscopy can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. I’m pleased to help Olympus spread the word about prevention and intervention.”

As one of the top colonoscopy experts in the world, Professor Douglas Rex organized the first trial of using colonoscopy to screen average-risk individuals in 1987. In this trial, nearly 800 asymptomatic health professionals and their spouses underwent screening colonoscopy. This trial, along with the dozens of other investigations Rex has produced over the past two decades, helped transform colonoscopy from an uncommon and potentially dangerous procedure to the most effective screening test against any form of internal cancer and one of the most widely performed medical procedures in the United States.

Olympus is the leading manufacturer of medical devices used to peer inside the human body to detect, diagnose and treat gastrointestinal diseases such as colorectal cancer.  Olympus pioneered the development of endoscopic technology more than 50 years ago and remains a global leader today, helping to improve the lives of millions who have been diagnosed or screened for colorectal cancer.  More information about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is available at www.CRCawareness.com.

About Olympus Medical Systems Group
Olympus Medical Systems Group, a division of global technology leader Olympus, develops solutions for healthcare professionals that help improve clinical outcomes, reduce overall costs and enhance quality of life for their patients. By enabling less invasive procedures and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy, Olympus is transforming the future of healthcare.

For more information visit Olympus at www.medical.olympusamerica.com.

Media Contact
Michael Levey, Olympus, 484-896-5120, michael.levey@olympus.com