Sunshine Health Teams Up with Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Tackle Colorectal Cancer

TAMPA, Fla., June 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunshine Health and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers teamed up to promote the importance of colorectal cancer screenings and preventive care by hosting an educational event for Sunshine Health members and community partners. The event was held in support of the Florida Cancer Connect Initiative that aims to increase the number of individuals undergoing early detection and prevention of cancer.

Attendees engaged with community partners and learned how to complete an at-home colorectal screening kit. The audience had the opportunity to meet and listen to Shelton Quarles, Buccaneers Director of Football Operations, and colorectal cancer survivor.

Quarles was diagnosed at age 35 during a physical. Though his doctors found a rare, progressive form of colorectal cancer, they were able to successfully remove it because it was caught early. Quarles has been cancer-free since. 

"I'm grateful for the doctors who helped me throughout my process, but as we all know, we cannot completely prevent cancer," Quarles said. "In addition to staying active and eating mindfully, it is vital to get screened regularly. As a colorectal cancer survivor, I want to encourage everyone to do everything they can to lower their risk."

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States in men and women. Additionally, colorectal cancer disproportionately affects Black Americans, who are 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and about 40% more likely to die from it than other groups. People with a personal history of developing colorectal polyps or family history of colorectal cancer are at a higher risk of contracting colorectal cancer. However, lifestyle factors have also been linked to colorectal cancer such as not being physically active or not maintaining a healthy diet.  

"Sunshine Health is committed to working with community partners to expand awareness about colorectal cancer and the importance of screening for everyone, regardless of their risk factors," said Nathan Landsbaum, President and CEO of Sunshine Health. "We are grateful to have influential community partners willing to highlight the importance of colorectal cancer screening; and a special thanks to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker, Shelton Quarles, for sharing his personal story of beating cancer, as it is an important one for people to hear. We're honored to have him raise awareness alongside us."

"American Cancer Society recommends those at average risk get screened starting at age 45 and those at increased or high risk might need to start screening earlier," said Kyle Mobley, Senior Director of Cancer Center Partnerships at American Cancer Society. "Screening is important because when detected in early stages, the 5-year relative survival rate is about 90%, truly making a marked difference in outcomes for patients."

Sunshine Health's partners in attendance to provide education resources were American Cancer SocietyUSF AHECThe Department of Health in Hillsborough CountyMetropolitan MinistriesModivCareSuncoast Community Health Centers and Cologuard.

About Sunshine Health
Headquartered in Broward County and with offices across the state, Sunshine Health is among the largest healthcare plans in Florida. Offering coordinated care and a network of support for our members, Sunshine Health is transforming the health of the community, one person at a time. Sunshine Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a diversified, multi-national healthcare enterprise. It offers government-sponsored managed care through Medicaid, Long Term Care, the Health Insurance Marketplace (Ambetter), and Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans (Wellcare). Its specialty plans include the Child Welfare Specialty Plan serving children in or adopted from the state's Child Welfare system; the Serious Mental Illness Specialty Plan for people living with serious mental illness; and the Children's Medical Services Health Plan, operated by Sunshine Health on behalf of the Florida Department of Health for children and adolescents with special healthcare needs. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SunHealthFL.

SOURCE Sunshine Health