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Simcoe-Muskoka residents urged to get screened for colorectal cancer

Thirty-four per cent of eligible people in Simcoe-Muskoka are due for screening: RVH
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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) has organized Bottoms Up, a region-wide campaign to encourage people to get screened.

“Colorectal cancer is largely preventable with appropriate screening, yet it still remains a top-three cause of cancer deaths in Canada. Prevention and early detection with stool samples or colonoscopy are far easier than the treatments, which include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation,” says Dr. Kyle Fortinsky, gastroenterologist at RVH and Cancer Care Ontario regional lead for Simcoe-Muskoka.

What is colorectal cancer screening?

Colorectal cancer screening detects small growths in the cells lining the colon or rectum, called polyps, which can turn into cancer over time.

Why is colorectal screening important?

If polyps are found, they can be removed before they potentially turn into cancer. When colorectal cancer is caught early, nine out of 10 people can be cured.

When to screen for colorectal cancer

It varies, depending on your risk level.

If you are 50 to 74 years old with no first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, you are considered average risk and should get screened once every two years with an at-home fecal immunochemical test (FIT).

You are considered at increased risk if you have a family history that includes one or more first-degree relatives with the disease. In that case, you should get screened with a colonoscopy (a procedure done by a doctor) starting at 50 or 10 years earlier than the age of your relative when diagnosed, whichever comes first.

In Simcoe-Muskoka, 34 per cent of eligible people are due for colorectal screening.

How to get screened

Call the Simcoe-Muskoka cancer screening hotline 1-866-608-6910 for more information.