March is colorectal cancer awareness month
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. During this month, residents of the province are encouraged to learn how to reduce their risk of colon cancer. Individuals who are 50 years-of-age and older are also reminded to get checked for colon cancer before symptoms appear.
“Colon cancer is a serious but preventable disease,” said Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services. “Our government launched the Newfoundland and Labrador Colon Cancer Screening Program, in partnership with Eastern Health and Western Health last year. This program is seeing significant uptake and is aiding in the early detection of colon cancer.”
The screening program is being phased in over a three-year period and the first phase has been successfully implemented in the western region of the province. Through the program, men and women aged 50 to 74 can take home a user-friendly test known as a Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kit. To date, 1,174 FIT kits have been requested, and of that number, 778 kits have been returned for testing. As a result, 110 individuals have been contacted regarding a need for follow-up tests.
Residents of western Newfoundland who fall within the target age group are encouraged to participate in the program by calling 1-855614-0144 (toll-free). The screening program is led by Eastern Health, which administers the provincial Cancer Care Program. Further information on the screening program is available at www.easternhealth.ca.
“In Newfoundland and Labrador, colon cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women and the second leading cause of cancer death,” said Sullivan. “Men and women can reduce their risk of developing this disease by eating a healthy diet low in unhealthy fats and high in fruits and vegetables, being physically active, living smoke-free, drinking alcohol in moderation, and by participating in regular screening.”
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is an initiative of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, a patient-based organization dedicated to supporting people with colorectal cancer. The mission of the association is to improve the quality of life of patients and increase awareness of the disease.
For more information, visit www.colorectalcancer.ca/