Yukoners, ages 50-74 are encouraged to get screened for colon cancer.
Colorectal cancer is highly preventable through regular screening and early detection. If caught early it is 90% curable.
Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men and the third most common in women, yet it can be prevented or detected at an early stage. The Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) can detect the early warning signs of colon cancer and save your life.
The take home test, requires fewer preparation and the FIT test makes it easier and safer for you to collect; you only need to do one sample. Follow the instructions, bring the FIT kit and your requisition within 2 days (sooner the better) of taking the sample either to the Whitehorse General Hospital lab, Community HEalth Centre or Watson or Dawson Community Hospital.
Your sample is analyzed at the Whitehorse General Hospital lab for more accurate and faster results. If the results are abnormal your primary care provider will arrange for a colonoscopy. There are many reasons for a positive FIT test results, cancer or pre-cancerous signs is just one of them. If your results are normal you will receive a letter from the program to re-invite you to screen in two years.
Only your doctor or primary care provider can tell you if the FIT is the right test for you.
|To get a FIT test or for more information|
|talk to your doctor or your primary care provider|
What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is a devastating disease that invades the large intestine. People often include both colon and rectal cancers under colorectal cancer because both arise from the same type of cell and have many similarities. Almost all cases of colorectal cancer begin with the development of benign or non-cancerous polyps. Polyps develop when cells lining the colon reproduce too quickly. A polyp can become cancerous, invading the colon wall and surrounding blood vessels, spreading to other parts of the body.
What are the risk factors?
The exact causes of colorectal cancer are not known. However, studies show that the following risk factors increase a person’s chances of developing colorectal cancer: age, personal and family history of colorectal cancer, inherited syndromes, racial and ethnic background, personal history of other cancers, sedentary lifestyle, type II diabetes, obesity, smoking, severe alcohol consumption, growth hormone disorder and previous radiation therapy for certain cancers.
Who is at risk?
- Those at higher risk include people:
- With a family history of the disease;
- Who have or have had colorectal cancer; or
- Who have inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
What are the symptoms?
Many people with colorectal cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. However, when symptoms appear, they will likely vary, depending on the cancer’s size and location in the large intestine. This is why we are recommending regular screening rather than relying on colon cancer symptoms to alert one to the presence of a tumor. The symptoms may include:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Narrow stools
- Abdominal cramps
- Bloody stools
- Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
- Sense of fullness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gas and bloating
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
How can you prevent colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer does not discriminate, and even the healthiest individual can develop the disease. However, there are several lifestyle factors which you can control to help prevent colon cancer, and they are:
- Have a healthy diet – lots of fruits and vegetable, beans and legumes, milk products, drink plenty of water, replace unhealthy fats or “trans fats”, limit your intake of red and processed meats and cut sugar;
- Have a great intake of supplements
- Limit excess body weight and exercise;
- Quit or reduce smoking;
- Drink alcohol with moderation; and
- Screen every two years.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
The Government of Yukon launch a Yukon-wide ColonCheck screening program and an awareness campaign promoting pre-screening for colon cancer. Along with its partners, the Government of Yukon has brought the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada’s Giant Colon Tour to Whitehorse to promote the new campaign in time for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March. The Giant Colon Tour has been created to inform the public about the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer as well as the other diseases of the colon - just over 2400 people have visited the interactive exhibit.
Minister Pauline Frost with Grand Chief, Council of Yukon First Nations, Peter Johnston at the March 3, 2017 ColonCheck news conference.
Phone: (867) 667-5497
Toll Free (Yukon, Nunavut and NWT); 1-844-347-9856