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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and the Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer Program has partnered with Cancer Care Ontario inviting eligible men to ‘Call the Shots on Colon Cancer’ and get screened with a simple take-home test.

While colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women in Ontario, it’s highly treatable when caught early. The fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is safe, painless and can be done at home.

“Colon cancer screening can be the difference between life and death,” says Dr. John Day, Erie St. Clair Regional Primary Care Lead. “When caught early, nine out of every 10 people with colon cancer can be cured. In its later stages, the outcomes are much worse. That’s why it’s so important to get screened every two years.”

Regular screening also means that you can find colon cancer before you get problems like diarrhea and stomach pain, which can happen in the later stages of the disease.

During March, hockey legend Darryl Sittler has partnered with Cancer Care Ontario and Colon Cancer Canada to increase awareness about the importance of screening. After losing his wife to colon cancer in 2001, Sittler now gets screened regularly and encourages his family and friends to do the same.

“People may assume that they don’t need to get screened for colon cancer if they have no symptoms, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Sittler. “Screening allows you to stay a step ahead of the game and find cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. Even if no one else in your family has had colon cancer, it’s important to get screened regularly to make sure you’re healthy.”

Cancer Care Ontario recommends that men and women at average risk aged 50 to 74 get screened for colon cancer with an FOBT every two years.

“When a person reaches 50 years of age, the risk of colon cancer rises,” says Dr. Catherine Dube, Clinical Lead, ColonCancerCheck, Cancer Care Ontario. “Most often, a person with colon cancer has no early warning signs. Ontarians who are between the ages of 50 and 74 or those who have a family history of colon cancer should have a conversation about screening with their healthcare provider.”

In our region, the Windsor Spitfires and Chatham Maroons join the fight against Colon Cancer all month with announcements and T-shirt give aways!

Talk to your healthcare provider today about getting screened for colon cancer with a take-home FOBT test kit. For more information about how you can ‘Call the Shots on Colon Cancer’, click HERE 

People without a healthcare provider can get a FOBT kit by contacting Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-828-9214. More information is available HERE

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