The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Men and women 50 plus are encouraged to be screened for colon cancer

WHITBY, ON February 26, 2014 - 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.

According to Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Ontario. In addition, in 2013, CCO reported that approximately 8,700 Ontarians would be diagnosed with colon cancer, with almost 3,350 Ontarians (1,850 men and 1,500 women) dying from this disease.

Research has shown that screening can help detect cancer early when it is easier to treat and cure. “Someone with colon cancer has a 90 per cent chance of being cured if the cancer is caught early,” explained Cathie Snider, a public health nurse with the Health Department. “The likelihood of curing someone with colorectal cancer decreases to 12 per cent if detected at later stages.”

A 2013 report from CCO found that only 27 per cent of Durham residents 50 to 74-years old were screened in 2010-2011 for colon cancer using a fecal occult blood test (FOBT). A FOBT is a free simple test you can do yourself in the privacy of your own home. The test looks for blood in your stool, which may be a sign of colon cancer.  If you have a family history of colon cancer, please speak to your health care provider about screening. 

CCO also indicates that people 50 to 74-years old with no family history of colon cancer, are considered to be at average risk for developing the disease and should be screened every two years with a FOBT. 

Residents who do not have a family physician or nurse practitioner can get a FOBT kit by contacting TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-828-9213. For more information about Ontario’s ColonCancerCheck program, please visit or 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