The Denver Undy RunWalk marks 10 years with a special focus on young people at risk from colorectal cancer, the nation’s second biggest cancer killer.
The Denver Undy RunWalk has become a popular fundraising fixture in the Colorado running calendar since the first ‘superheroes’ donned capes and oversized underwear – worn outside their pants of course – to break the 5K tape in June 2009.
This year’s event, which will be held in Denver City Park June 23, promises to be a special celebration, not just of 10 years of undies as they are affectionately known, but of the stunning medical progress being made in the cause which unites all undy runners — to defeat colorectal cancer in our lifetime. Just ask the 17,000 colorectal cancer survivors living in Colorado.
Affecting more than 135,000 Americans annually, colorectal cancers (CRCs) are among the most preventable forms of cancer with a 90 percent survival rate when diagnosed at an early stage. Among Americans 50 and older, CRC cases have dropped by a third, largely due to screening which is triggered automatically at the age of 50 (45 for African-American) by most insurance providers, earlier if you have a family history, and mortality rates have improved by 17 percent. But still this largely preventable disease remains the nation’s second largest cancer killer of men and women.
Perhaps the starkest trend to emerge during a decade of Denver Undy RunWalks is the growing risk of young-onset colorectal cancer, which has risen over 20 percent among under 50s. A report released last year by the American Cancer Society (ACS) found that a typical millennial, born in 1990, is now twice as likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer as someone born in 1950, and four times as likely to be diagnosed with rectal cancer.
Additionally, younger patients are far less likely to get a colonoscopy that catches a polyp in time, or before a malignant mass spreads elsewhere. As a result, the ACS study found, their cancers are 58 percent more likely to be diagnosed late-stage after spreading beyond the colon or rectum compared with patients over 50.
The underlying cause of the rise in CRC diagnoses in under 50s remains unknown, and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance has pledged $3 million to young, onset colorectal cancer. The national nonprofit whose mission is to end colorectal cancer provides support services, awareness of preventive measures, and funding critical research is also behind the Undy RunWalks, which are held in 22 cities across the U.S.
On-site registration begins at 7 a.m., and the 5K begins at 8:30 a.m. For more information or to register, visit undyrunwalk.org, and click on Denver. The 2018 Denver Undy RunWalk is sponsored in part by Taiho Oncology.
Registration fees are $35 advance/$40 race day for all races (children 5 and younger are free). There is the 5K for adults, 5K youth (6-13); and a one-mile fun run for all ages.
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