ALBANY, Ga. -- The Cancer Coalition of South Georgia is partnering with The Albany Herald to promote colorectal cancer awareness by the publication of a "Blue Paper" this week.
On Wednesday, The Herald will feature the "Blue Star", the symbol of colorectal cancer awareness, on a strip advertisement at the bottom of the front page of the newspaper with a message encouraging readers to get screened.
At the same time, the paper also will display the star throughout its social media outlets as a means to encourage South Georgians to learn about and get checked for colorectal cancer.
There will also be ads running at the top of the front page on Tuesday and Thursday similar to the strip ad running on Wednesday, said Scott Brooks, sales and marketing director for The Herald.
"The Herald has experienced cancer in its family first hand, so we know the importance of early detection," he said.
The Cancer Coalition is currently challenging all other newspapers in its 32-county region to run a "blue" edition sometime during the month and join in on the awareness campaign, officials and the coalition say.
The idea for the Blue Star Paper came from the success of The Herald's annual "pink paper" that is printed in late September to promote breast cancer awareness. In so doing, the publication donates a percentage of that edition's advertising funds to the Cancer Coalition to help support local cancer screenings -- and plans to do the same with the "Blue Star" paper, Brooks said.
"We have been so pleased with the success of the pink paper, and colorectal cancer is a very common cancer in both men and women," said Cancer Coalition CEO Diane Fletcher. "There is a blue star, but it is not familiar as the pink ribbon (for breast cancer) -- but we want to make it familiar.
"We are particularly interested in colorectal cancer awareness because it is one of the few that can be prevented by a colonoscopy. The idea of screening is (to catch cancer early), but with a colonoscopy, if a physician sees an abnormality he or she can remove it. It can be removed when it is precancerous."
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and also the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States, officials say.
Funds raised from Wednesday's paper will help support the Cancer Coalition Community Cancer Screening Program, which provides health navigators to help uninsured or underinsured South Georgians receive the cancer screenings they need.
The recently published "Consumer Report" evaluated 11 types of cancer screening tests and ranked colorectal cancer screening as the most effective screening for both men and women aged from 50 to 75 years. Such an effective screening saves lives by preventing colorectal cancer or finding it early so it can be successfully treated, officials say.