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Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: March to Get Screened

doctor shaking patient hand
doctor shaking patient hand

In honour of March being colorectal cancer awareness month, Colorectal Cancer Canada is highlighting important information for Colon cancer for patients across the country.

Throughout the month of March, Colorectal Cancer Canada (CCC), the nation’s not for profit colorectal cancer patient organization, is launching its campaign: “March to Get Screened” in order to raise awareness on the importance of screening as early detection increases the chances of detecting precancerous growths and removing them before they spread to other parts of the body. Colon cancer screening remains the best way to prevent the disease. It helps detect cancer at an early stage before the signs and symptoms of the disease appear. It’s simple to do, with a non-invasive test called FIT performed at home. For individuals who test positive, a follow-up colonoscopy can identify and remove precancerous polyps, thereby preventing cancer.

Over the past two years, the nation’s collective attention has been focused on the pandemic. And while COVID-19 remains a priority, we face an even more deadly public health emergency: cancer. Due to the screening interruption in the first three months of COVID-19, Canada is expected to have missed approximately 10,000 people with undetected colorectal cancers. Specifically, cancer has been the cause of death for nearly twice as many Quebecers as COVID-19. Unfortunately, the interruptions in screening and surgeries will have consequences for the lives of thousands of people in the coming years.

The consequences of delayed screening are immense: fewer screening tests performed, fewer colonoscopies performed, more advanced cancer cases to be expected, more deaths to be anticipated and more pressure, for years to come, on the resources of the healthcare system.

Coupled with the impact of the pandemic on screening, Quebec remains the only province in Canada not to have a structured colorectal cancer screening program for people aged 50 to 74. The pandemic has shown that Quebec can quickly set up a screening program as it did for COVID-19, consequently the lack of a colorectal cancer screening program is especially perplexing. CCC will continue to advocate strongly for the deployment of the Quebec Colorectal Cancer Screening Program (PQDCCR).

Living with cancer or having a loved one be diagnosed with the disease can be overwhelming, discouraging and extremely stressful. At CCC, we understand the broad range of psychosocial needs of our patients and their families that come as a direct result of diagnosis. We invite you to reach out to our team to help guide and support you through your cancer care.

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