Colorectal cancer, also referred to as colon cancer, is the second most common cancer and kills approximately 9,000 Canadians each year. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is encouraging all Canadians age 50 and older to have a Colonversation with a doctor, friend or loved one about getting checked.
“Early detection leads to fewer cases of colorectal cancer and better outcomes for those who are diagnosed with the disease,” said Dr. Heather Bryant, Vice-President of Cancer Control at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. “Checking regularly for colorectal cancer – also known as screening – is our best line of defense against this highly treatable cancer.”
According to research, 56% of Canadians aged 50 to 74 are not up-to-date with their screening and 60% do not realize they should actually be checked before signs or symptoms are present.
While colon cancer affects both men and women, many may not be having the discussion or getting screened because they’re afraid to bring up the topic.
Colon cancer screening is easy to do with a simple test at home. Across Canada, these kits are available through provincial and territorial screening programs. Referred to as Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) kits, they check for the microscopic presence of blood or antibodies in the stool.
The Colonversation Campaign, www.colonversation.ca, is the first of its kind online campaign to raise awareness about colon cancer screening and to encourage people to have a conversation about the disease. Visitors can learn important facts about screening including where and how to get screened, make use of educational videos, and share the news through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
“By having a Colonversation and taking a simple home screening test, we can make a giant step forward in reducing the number of Canadians with colorectal cancer,” added Dr. Bryant.