Colorectal cancer second-leading cause of cancer death in Ontario
Health Sciences North has partnered with ColonCancerCheck and the OHL to promote colorectal cancer screening and prevention throughout March – Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death and the third most diagnosed cancer in Ontario.
In 2013, an estimated 8,700 Ontarians – about 4,800 men and 3,900 women -- were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Around 3,350 Ontarians – 1,850 men and 1,500 women – will die from colorectal cancer. All Ontarians aged 50 to 74 years should be screened for colorectal cancer.
The OHL's Sudbury Wolves, North Bay Battalion and Sault Greyhounds will be joined by other teams within the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) to host special events at games in March to remind fans that screening saves lives.
In several communities, members of the Cancer Prevention and Screening Network, including local public health units, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Northeast Cancer Center, will be on hand to speak to media and urge fans to speak to their healthcare provider about getting screened.
“It’s exciting to see our hockey partners supporting Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and our public health unit and Canadian Cancer Society partners out there spreading the message among hockey fans,” said Dr. Amanda Hey, regional primary care lead with Sudbury's Northeast Cancer Centre, in a release. “It’s such an important message: when it’s caught at its earliest stages, there is a 90 per cent chance of a cure from colorectal cancer.”
The early stages of colorectal cancer often have no symptoms, but a screening can still detect the disease at those stages.
For those at average risk, a simple at-home test – the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) – is recommended once every two years.
For those at increased risk, because of a family history with colorectal cancer, a colonoscopy is advised beginning at age 50, or 10 years earlier than the age at which their relative was diagnosed.
FOBT kits can be obtained through health care providers or by calling Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.