Since 1998, Colorectal Cancer Canada has been committed to raising awareness and educating Canadians about colorectal cancer, supporting patients and their families, and advocating on their behalf. We offer a variety of educational programs, as well as a Patient Support Programs to address the personal concerns of patients and caregivers.
As a patient-led organization with deep connections to the patient population, colorectal medical practitioners, institutional stakeholders, government, and industry, CCC is poised to address patient and caregiver perspectives that lie outside of standard cancer care with empathy and lived experience. CCC is also committed to informing policy at the government level and advocating for improved procedural care along the healthcare continuum.
While CRC is highly preventable, over 24 800 Canadians will be diagnosed with the disease this year. In addition, due to late diagnosis of the disease, more than 50 percent of cases are detected at advanced stages when cancer is harder to treat and cure. In 2021, colorectal cancer (CRC) was Canada’s third most diagnosed cancer and was the second-leading cause of cancer death. Generally, colorectal cancer spreads fairly slowly and can stay in the colon or rectum for months or years. During the early stages, when it is most treatable, there are often no signs or symptoms.
Common symptoms of colorectal cancer, such as loss of weight, appetite, fatigue, gas/bloating, diarrhea/constipation, and blood in stool, can easily be passed off as less potentially fatal diagnoses (i.e., hemorrhoids, IBD, stress). This reinforces the importance of participating in regular screening even when you are symptom-free. Screening is quite simple through home-based FIT tests, which can detect tiny traces of occult blood in the stool.
We must create awareness around colorectal cancer, particularly in the gastric disease community, as it is becoming increasingly clear that colorectal cancer is intricately linked to microbes in the gut. Furthermore, a history of inflammatory bowel disease is an important risk factor for this disease.
Although Canada remains behind in lowering the age of colorectal cancer screenings, as compared to the U.S. which lowered it to 45 years, due to the increase of early age onset cases, creating awareness of symptoms and risk factors, among the general population, is a good way of arming individuals with the knowledge to advocate for themselves.