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Women's Health and Lifestyle

How the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer can save lives

Colorectal cancer ribbon
Colorectal cancer ribbon

Colorectal cancer (CRC) which begins in cells of the colon or rectum, is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada. In 2022, over 24,000 Canadians were expected to be diagnosed.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) which begins in cells of the colon or rectum, is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada. In 2022, over 24,000 Canadians were expected to be diagnosed. While CRC is highly preventable, due to late diagnosis of the disease more than 50 per cent of cases are detected at advanced stages when cancer is harder to treat and cure. 

Generally, colorectal cancer spreads 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 a loss of weight, appetite, fatigue, gas/bloating, diarrhea/constipation, blood in stool, can all too easily be passed off as less potentially fatal diagnoses (ie: hemorrhoids, IBD, stress); reinforcing the importance of participating in regular screening even when you are symptom-free.

At Colorectal Cancer Canada (CCC), the nation’s not-for-profit organization dedicated to colorectal cancer patients and their families, we are committed to raising awareness and educating Canadians about colorectal cancer, supporting patients and their families, and advocating on their behalf.

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.

It is essential that we 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 of CRC.

Knowing your risk factor and following the appropriate screening method is imperative as the disease is 90 percent curable if caught in its early stages. Screening is quite simple, through a home-based FIT test, which can detect tiny traces of blood in the stool. Average risk individuals should begin screening regularly and continue to do so between the ages of 50-74. 

Furthermore, engaging in healthy lifestyle choices, such as a following a healthy diet, engaging in exercise regularly and reducing consumption of substances such as alcohol and tobacco, can also help reduce your risk of this disease.

To find out more about colorectal cancer, including risk factors, signs and symptoms and more, please visit our website at: www.colorectalcancercanada.com or visit our youtube page for interesting education session and webinars.

Contact our Patient Support Specialists for information on our programs and patient services.

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