Colon Can­cer Screening Pro­gram launched

The Southern Gazette - - SPORTS -

Through an an­nual in­vest­ment of $3 mil­lion, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment launched the New­found­land and Labrador Colon Can­cer Screening Pro­gram July 23 in Cor­ner Brook.

It’s in part­ner­ship with the Eastern and Western Health Au­thor­i­ties.

The screening pro­gram will be phased in over a three-year pe­riod with the first phase be­ing im­ple­mented in western New­found­land.

Health and Community Ser­vices Min­is­ter Su­san Sul­li­van in­di­cated “Colon can­cer is the sec­ond most com­mon can­cer in both men and women and the sec­ond lead­ing cause of can­cer death in New­found­land and Labrador, next to lung can­cer. The goal of the New­found­land and Labrador Colon Can­cer Screening Pro­gram is to re­duce pro­vin­cial mor­tal­ity rates through the early de­tec­tion of can­cer in peo­ple who carry the dis­ease, but show no symp­toms.

“Our gov­ern­ment has in­vested over $140 mil­lion in can­cer treat­ment and preven­tion since 2004, and we will continue to work ag­gres­sively to en­hance can­cer care in the prov­ince and to im­prove qual­ity in our health care sys­tem through in­vest­ments in equip­ment and ser­vices for preven­tion, early di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment of can­cer.”

The New­found­land and Labrador Colon Can­cer Screening Pro­gram is led by Eastern Health, which ad­min­is­ters the pro­vin­cial Can­cer Care Pro­gram. The tar­get age group for the new pro­gram is men and women aged 50 to 74 who are con­sid­ered at av­er­age risk for colon can­cer.

Eastern Health Pres­i­dent and CEO Vickie Kamin­ski said “We know that de­tect­ing can­cer early re­mains the best strat­egy for im­prov­ing sur­vival rates and en­hanc­ing the qual­ity of life for those deal­ing with can­cer. Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the screening pro­gram is an easy, pain­less and risk- free means of de­tect­ing colon can­cer ear­lier and treat­ing it more suc­cess­fully.

“We look for­ward to adding this vi­tal com­po­nent to our Can­cer Care Pro­gram, as we be­lieve it will play a sig­nif­i­cant role in re­duc­ing deaths from this dis­ease.”

Dur­ing the com­ing weeks, Fe­cal Im­muno­chem­i­cal Test (FIT) kits will be made avail­able to men and women in the tar­geted age group in western New­found­land. The FIT is more ad­vanced and sen­si­tive than other avail­able tests and is con­sid­ered an ef­fec­tive method for screening those at av­er­age risk for colon can­cer.

The kits will al­low par­tic­i­pants to col­lect sam­ples in the pri­vacy of their own homes and for­ward them to a cen­tral bio­chem­istry lab­o­ra­tory at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospi­tal in St. John’s for anal­y­sis.

The Colon Can­cer Screening Pro­gram will contact par­tic­i­pants, whose tests show ab­nor­mal ( pos­i­tive) re­sults, for fol­lowup care. This may in­clude a di­ag­nos­tic test such as a colonoscop­y.

Re­sults from the di­ag­nos­tic test will be sent to the screening pro­gram and the par­tic­i­pants’ fam­ily physi­cian.

Colon can­cer screening for the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion will po­ten­tially in­crease the de­mand for colono­scopies and other en­doscopy ser­vices. In con­sul­ta­tion with the Pro­vin­cial En­doscopy Wait Time Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee and the re­gional health au­thor­i­ties, it was de­ter­mined Western Memo­rial Hospi­tal in Cor­ner Brook is cur­rently best- po­si­tioned to han­dle the an­tic­i­pated vol­ume of fol­low-up treat­ment in the first phase of the screening pro­gram.

Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the New­found­land and Labrador Colon Can­cer Screening pro­gram is vol­un­tary.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on the pro­gram will be made avail­able through pro­mo­tional ma­te­ri­als and ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing ad­ver­tis­ing through the in­ter­net, news­pa­pers, ra­dio, di­rect mail and community part­ners. Ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion can also be found at ‘ www.east­ern­’.

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