Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) is joining the statewide effort organized by the Nebraska Cancer Coalition (NC2) and the Great Plains Colon Cancer Task Force to help raise awareness of lifesaving colon cancer screening during Colon Cancer Awareness Month in March.

BCBSNE encourages its employees and members to participate in Dress in Blue Day on Friday, March 5, to raise awareness of colon cancer and support NC2’s campaign.

Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer in the U.S., affecting men and women of all racial and ethnic groups; however, colon cancer is largely preventable through regular screening.

“The sooner you diagnose cancer, the better the outcomes tend to be,” said Dr. Debra Esser, chief medical officer at BCBSNE. “In general, colon cancer is slow-growing, so it is largely preventable through regular screenings. Everyone between 50 and 75, and younger patients recommended by their doctor, should be receiving these screenings to ensure that any cancer is caught and treated in early stages.”

People’s hesitation to visit the doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant decrease in colon cancer screening – threatening to regress years of progress toward early detection and treatment of the disease. In 2020, there were an estimated 1.7 million missed colonoscopies nationwide, as four out of every 10 Americans delayed or avoided medical care, according to the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

BCBSNE encourages members to contact their primary care provider to start a conversation about screening.

Need to find a primary care physician? Look for a Total Care provider. Total Care recognizes doctors who go above and beyond to enhance their patients’ care through preventive services, better management of chronic conditions and reduced costs for care. In fact, BCBSNE members who see Total Care providers were 23% more likely than other members to be screened for colorectal cancer in 2019-20.

With chronic health conditions on the rise, screening has become more important as these conditions raise the risk of colorectal cancer, according to a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Association study published in 2020.

A key component of the study’s findings relates to the health of millennials, who were born between 1981 and 1996. BCBS previously examined millennial health and found chronic health conditions, such as hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, impact millennials at a higher rate than previous generations, raising people’s risk of health problems such as cancer. For additional highlights from the study, read this article.

Learn more about the fight against colon cancer in Nebraska at

And join us in wearing blue on Friday, March 5!

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