The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Screening for colon cancer is encouraged for men and women 50 and over

WHITBY, ON,  February 25, 2013 - March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Durham Region Health Department encourages all men and women 50 and over to be screened for colon cancer.

“Screening helps detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat and cure. Cancer screening should be done when you are healthy and have no symptoms,” said Patricia Beasley, a public health nurse with the Health Department.

According to Cancer Care Ontario, colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Ontario. Screening for colon cancer is important as there are often no early warning symptoms. “Through screening, colon cancer can be found in the early stages when treatment is most effective,” added Ms. Beasley. “If found early, there is also a 90 per cent chance that colon cancer can be cured.”

For those at average risk for colon cancer, a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is recommended once every two years. The FOBT is a test you can do yourself in the privacy of your home. The test looks for blood in your stool, which may be a sign of colon cancer.

According to a recent Health Department survey, 66 per cent of Durham Region residents 50 and older have never been screened for colon cancer using an FOBT. Individuals who are at increased risk because of a family history of colon cancer or a positive FOBT test are encouraged to check with their healthcare provider.

For more information about Ontario’s ColonCancerCheck program, please call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

Media Inquiries:
Glendene Collins - Health Department 905-668-7711, ext. 2999