$4 million investment in colorectal screening will save lives

22 March 2012

Regina -

The Canadian Cancer Society applauds the government’s decision to expand the colorectal screening program.  The provincial budget announced yesterday included $4 million to expand the program which currently is only available in some health regions.I Hills

“We know that screening for colon cancer can save lives. If caught in the early stages through screening, colorectal cancer is more than 90% preventable and easily treated.” says Donna Ziegler, Director of Cancer Control for the Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan.

The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency’s Screening Program for Colorectal Cancer is currently available in Five Hills, Regina Qu’Appelle, Kelsey Trail and northern health regions.  People between the ages of 50 and 74 are mailed a simple test that can detect blood in the stool that is not visible to the naked eye. The test can be done in the privacy of their home without any changes to your diet or medications. 

Organized screening programs can detect precancerous conditions before there are any signs or symptoms and therefore prevent cancer.  “Too many people lose their battle to colorectal cancer or have to undergo more invasive treatment options because they weren’t diagnosed early enough, says Ziegler.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths.  It is estimated that 270 people in Saskatchewan would die from colorectal cancer in 2011.  It is also the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in the province.  An estimated 690 people were expected be diagnosed with the disease last year.

The Society recommends that all people between the ages of 50 and 74 get screened every two years. For people with symptoms or who are at higher (such as having a personal or family history of the disease) it is important that they talk to their doctors who may recommend other types of tests.   

The best ways to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer – along with regular screening – are eating a healthy diet and limiting the amount or red or processed meat, maintaining a health body weight, not smoking, and avoiding excessive drinking.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Donna Pasiechnik

Manager, Tobacco Control, Media & Government Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Saskatchewan Division

Phone: 306-790-9871