March is col­orec­tal can­cer aware­ness month

The Compass - - CLASSIFIED -

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/

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