Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, March 11, 2015 – Islanders are encouraged to talk about colorectal cancer and the importance of early detection during March which is national colorectal cancer awareness month, says Minister of Health and Wellness Doug Currie.
“Colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in our province but early detection through regular screening can, and is, making a real difference,” said the minister. “My hope is that this month, Islanders will consider ways to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer, including accessing our provincial screening program which has been a tremendous success.”
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among Island men and women and the second leading cause of cancer death in Prince Edward Island. For average risk Islanders between the ages of 50 and 74, the easy to use at-home FIT kit continues to be the primary screening tool. Over the last two years, approximately 20 percent of eligible Islanders have been screened for colorectal cancer using the FIT Kit.
“Effective colorectal cancer screening helps to detect cancer early when it can be most successfully treated. In some cases, it can even prevent some cancers from ever developing,” says Ann Millar, PEI Colorectal Cancer Screening Program Coordinator for Health PEI. “As we continue to learn more about this disease, we are in a better position to address colorectal cancer by taking steps to reduce risks, screen more effectively, and improve treatment.”
In addition to regular screening, Islanders can also take active steps to reduce their risk factors for colorectal cancer, including:
- Eating a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Taking vitamin D supplements
- Getting screened regularly (every two years for persons of average risk)
“We are pleased to hear that more Islanders are having the important conversation with their family physician or nurse practitioner about colorectal cancer and the most appropriate screening option based on their risk of developing the disease,” added Millar.
For more information or to request a FIT Kit, call the PEI Colorectal Cancer Screening Program toll free at 1-888-561-2233 or visit www.healthpei.ca/colorectal.
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Department of Health and Wellness