menu icon
spm group large logo 468x104
spm group team logos

The Squeeze, Vol. 22: No Shame, No Gain

The Squeeze, Vol. 22: No Shame, No Gain.

Let’s make the most of a sh*tty situation.

What’s going on?
While a colonoscopy may not seem like fun, these campaigns prove that talking about them can be.

ICYDK, March is observed as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month to highlight the importance of screening for cancers in the colon, rectum, and anus. Collectively, colorectal cancer is the third most common and second deadliest cancer worldwide, despite it being highly treatable and often curable if detected early by one of the various effective screenings available.

People have excuses aplenty for putting off any exam, but colorectal cancer screenings have a particularly bad rap due to the stigma of the organs and literal poop involved. So, this year organizations are making the topic more approachable by infusing levity and humor into their efforts.

1. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance’s “Lead from Behind” initiative enlisted actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney to bring audiences along for their first colonoscopies after turning 45, which is the recommended screening age as of 2021. The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the preventative benefits of a colonoscopy after both funnymen had (cancer-causing) polyps removed during theirs. Did you know that roughly 1 in 3 people has a polyp by age 45, and a colonoscopy can reduce the risk of cancer by up to 77%?

2. And yet, 40% of at-risk people put off getting their routine colonoscopy. Hackensack Meridian Health’s “No More Buts” campaign debunks the common excuses for doing so and aims to connect with consumers when the issue is top of mind: on custom printed toilet paper rolls in the bathrooms of popular community venues.

3. Across the pond, the National Health Service (NHS) of England is focusing its efforts on one of the at-home screening alternatives, the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). Despite its ease and convenience, hygiene concerns and incorrect assumptions around not needing to test if asymptomatic left nearly one third of FIT kits sent in 2022 unreturned for testing. The key benefit of the test is that it can detect signs of cancer way before someone would notice any symptoms, making it a life-saving opportunity that the NHS celebrates in this delightfully British commercial:

Play Video

What's The Squeeze?
These campaigns provide a fresh perspective on how to communicate about colorectal cancer screenings, and their grounding insights remind us of our responsibility to do just that.

Part of our charge is joining the effort to change the conversation around colonoscopies, talking to people on their terms to help them understand that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. But since the primary source of colonoscopy avoidance is the perceived unpleasant experience, what can we do to make that better? From ensuring patients know their options (e.g., different techniques, lower volume fluid options) to the format and tone of the prep instructions, to the refreshments you serve afterward… what seem like little things might actually make a big difference. At the very least, we should be reminding patients when they are due for a screening, considering a recent survey found that only 11% of respondents knew what the latest guidelines were.

And if you happen to fall in that other 89% or are 45+ and have been putting off your own colorectal cancer screening, then hopefully you learned something personally thought-provoking today too. Still not convinced? Then maybe Ryan Reynolds and the incredibly engaging and informative Lead from Behind website can help.

Related Insights.

Duis Aute Irure.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum.

For more information, please contact
[email protected].