NEW YORK (WCBS 880/1010 WINS/AP) – CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Katie Couric is teaming up with the New York City Health Department for a campaign that has touched her family directly, colon cancer.

Couric’s husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer in 1998 at age 41.

“It’s been a terrible loss for us and of course I always feel that Jay got so ripped off,” Couric told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond, “And, I just don’t want other mothers and fathers and sisters, brothers, daughters and sons to have this happen to them.”

Couric’s tireless crusade for colon cancer screenings has made a difference. According to the City Health Department,  two-thirds of New Yorkers over 50 have had the test.

“Doctors have told me when they have the sheet that says referred by…often times patients say my name,” said Couric.

Colon cancer is the number two cancer killer in America, but doctors say if it is caught early it is highly treatable.  Couric told 1010 WINS that she has taken up the cause as her “life mission.”

“People don’t have to die of this disease.  It has a better than 92 percent cure rate if it’s detected early.  So that’s why it’s so critical that people get screened,” Couric said.

The colon cancer screening campaign called “Make That Call,” will run until March 14th.

The public service announcement will be aired on WCBS-TV and will feature Couric, “The Doctors” host Dr. Travis Stork and WCBS-TV medical reporter Dr. Max Gomez.

It also will include interactive educational posters featuring barcodes that will allow smartphone users to connect to www.MakeThat

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