Prominent men across Alberta, Northwest Territories make pledge to be #FITat50

22 September 2014

Calgary -

What do a ballet choreographer, firefighter, professional football player, and First Nations Chief have in common? They’ve all made the pledge to be #FITat50.

As ambassadors of the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division’s #FITat50 campaign, these individuals publicly promised today to speak with their doctors about being screened for colorectal cancer and/or challenged friends, family members and their communities to do so:

  • Jean Grand- Maître, artistic director, Alberta Ballet
  • Brad Grainger, Fort McMurray fire deputy chief
  • Randy Chevrier, Calgary Stampeder, and his wife, Tania
  • Bill Erasmus, Dene National Chief
  • Adam Legge, president and CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce
  • Mark Heyck, Mayor of Yellowknife
  • Stephen Mandel, Alberta Health Minister

“Colorectal cancer is a slow growing cancer that often doesn’t have any symptoms until it’s too late to treat successfully,” says Dan Holinda, Executive Director, Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division. “So we are encouraging men who are 50 and older to make the pledge to be #FITat50, which is a public promise to speak with their doctors about being screened for colorectal cancer with the FIT test.”

The Fecal Immunochemical Test, or FIT test, is the primary colorectal cancer screening tool in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. The FIT test is a simple and accurate home stool test that requires no dietary restrictions and will help optimize screening-related colonoscopies in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

“The FIT test can save your life by finding colorectal cancer before it causes symptoms and is still curable,” says Dr Bob Hilsden, associate professor, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary. “The FIT test also leads to more effective use of colonoscopy resources.”

The Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colorectal cancer start screening for the disease with the FIT test once they turn 50. Screening individuals at average risk of colorectal cancer with the FIT test will free up capacity for people who more urgently need a colonoscopy. Patients whose FIT test comes back with positive results – meaning occult (hidden) blood was detected – will be prioritized for a follow-up colonoscopy.

“Don’t dance around it – make cancer screening your business,” says Holinda, who is making the pledge. “Screening and early detection are your best defence in the fight against cancer. The FIT test is an effective tool that detects pre-cancerous polyps and early-stage tumours, which are easier to treat successfully.”

Nine out of 10 colorectal cancer cases can be treated successfully when caught early. More men than women are diagnosed with colorectal cancer but fewer men than women are being screened for the disease in Alberta. In the Northwest Territories, the colorectal cancer death rate for men is nearly double that of the Canadian average.

Speak with your doctor about screening for colorectal cancer with the FIT test once you turn 50. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, or other risk factors, speak with your doctor to determine what is the best approach to screening for you. If you don't have a doctor, here are so some resources to help you find one:

Go to cancer.ca/FITat50 to learn how you can make the pledge to be #FITat50.

About #FITat50

The Canadian Cancer Society marks Men’s Cancer Health Awareness Month every September by raising awareness of a cancer that can be treated successfully when caught early through screening. The #FITat50 campaign encourages men who are aged 50-plus and at average risk of colorectal cancer to speak with their doctors about being screened for the disease with the FIT test. To spread awareness, men and women will post selfies to their social media accounts stating they’ve either made the pledge to be #FITat50 or are challenging a loved one to do so.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers and staff whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are working with Canadians to change cancer forever. Make your gift today at cancer.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Paula Trotter

Communications Coordinator

Phone: 403-541-2339