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ColonCheck Yukon

Yukoners, ages 50-74 are encouraged to get screened for colon cancer.

Get screened today. Find it early. Prevent it. Treat it.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of Yukon cancer deaths after lung cancer. The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age, with over 90% of new cases diagnosed in people 50 years of age and over. Colon cancer is highly preventable through regular screening and early detection. Having regular colon cancer screening every two years, can prevent and detect colorectal cancer at its early stages when treatment is more effective. The Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) can detect the early warning signs of colon cancer and save your life.

GET THE FIT – this take home test requires no preparation and you only need to do one sample. Follow the instructions included in your kit then bring your completed sample along with your requisition within 2-3 days (sooner the better) to any of the health centres in the communities; Dawson or Watson Community Hospital; or to Whitehorse General Hospital lab. Whitehorse General Hospital lab will analyze your sample and send your results to your primary health care provider. 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.

The time to get screened is before you have symptoms. You can feel well and not even know that you have polyps or colon cancer.

For more information and to get a FIT test please speak with your doctor or your primary care provider. 
Only your doctor or primary care provider can tell you if the FIT is the right test for you.


What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer generally develops from tiny growths call polyps inside the colon or rectum. Polyps start out as small harmless growths on the inner wall of the colon. However, as polyps grow larger, some may turn into cancer. Almost all cases of colorectal cancer begin with the development of benign or non-cancerous polyps.

Who is at risk?

Your risk of getting colon cancer is higher if:

  •         Someone in your family has had colon polyps or colon cancer;
  •         You’ve had colon polyps before; or
  •         You have inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)

If you have a family history of colon cancer, you may need to get checked before age 50. A colonoscopy may be how you get checked. Talk to your health care provider about your family history and find out which test is right for you.

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
  •          Fatigue
  •          Abdominal pain or discomfort

How can you prevent colorectal cancer?

A healthy lifestyle and getting screened regularly can help prevent colon cancer. Here’s what you can do to stay colon healthy:

  •         Eat well – Eat more fruits and vegetable. Make smart food choices by limiting how much red and processed meats, saturated fats and salt you eat.
  •         Be active – Just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity can keep your colon healthy. It doesn’t have to be complicated. The more active you are, the lower your risk of cancer is.
  •         Quit or reduce smoking.
  •         Cut down on alcohol – If you choose to drink, follow these low risk alcohol guidelines. The less alcohol you consume, the lower your risk of cancer is
  •      Talk to your primary care provider – Your primary care provider is a great source of information and can help you understand what a healthy body weight means for you, help you quit smoking and help you decide on the best screening test for you.
  •         Get checked. Make colon cancer screening part of your regular health routine. It could save your life.


March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

This year, the ColonCheck program Manager will be touring Yukon communities to offer public Lunch and Learn on colorectal cancer screening and prevention.

Ross River - March 27, 2018 – 9 a.m. Ross River Community Health Fair held at the Margaret Thompson Centre

Haines Junction - April 9, 2018 – Noon Lunch and Learn at the Da Ku Cultural Centre  

Watson Lake - April 17, 2018 – Noon Lunch and Learn at the Watson Lake Convention Centre 

Burwash Landing - April 26, 2018 – Noon Lunch and Learn at the Community Recreational Centre

Mayo - May 1, 2018 – Noon Lunch and Learn in the kitchen of the Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation office 

In 2017, the Government of Yukon launched 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.

Take a walk through a giant colon with Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley
The Government of Yukon brought the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada’s Giant Colon Tour to Whitehorse to promote Colorectal Cancer Awareness on March 4th and 5th, 2017. Over 2400 people visited the interactive exhibit.



Contact info

ColonCheck Yukon

Phone: (867) 667-5497

Toll Free (Yukon, Nunavut and NWT); 1-844-347-9856



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