CancerCare Manitoba
News Item

January 7, 2010

ColonCheck Manitoba - Take the time to check because it Matters to You

Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Manitoba and often there are no symptoms when the disease is in the earliest, most treatable, stages.

"Prevention and early detection are key components of our provincial framework for cancer services," said Health Minister Theresa Oswald. "Colorectal cancer screening will save lives, and we're very pleased that our health providers and our citizens continue to be leaders in this critically important strategy."

To increase awareness about screening and its effectiveness, ColonCheck Manitoba, in partnership with Manitoba Health and the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, is launching a multimedia campaign featuring Manitobans like Tej Bains.

"We want to encourage every eligible Manitoban to be screened for colorectal cancer and we know that people respond when they hear personal stories," said Jean Sander, Program Manager, ColonCheck Manitoba.

At her annual check-up, Bains was given an FOBT, the same test ColonCheck Manitoba mails to eligible Manitobans, to do at home to screen for colorectal cancer. After abnormal results, a colonoscopy was scheduled.  During the procedure polyps were found and removed before they turned cancerous.  Often people will wait to see a doctor until there is problem, which is why Bains is glad ColonCheck Manitoba aims to help detect colorectal cancer early and reduce the number of Manitobans who die from the disease. "It is great that the program is there to offer screening tests to those who might not see a doctor regularly."

Screening can help find cancer early, but living a healthy lifestyle also provides benefit. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and a diet high in red and processed meats have all been linked to colon cancer.

CancerCare Manitoba Foundation started risk reduction messaging with the Bears on Broadway (be tobacco free, eat well, shape up, be sun smart, and check up) and has continued partnering with CancerCare Manitoba's screening programs to share the vital information with Manitobans in a variety of ways and languages.

"Building awareness benefits everyone," said Annitta Stenning, CancerCare Manitoba Foundation's executive director. "The more we can share the message, the closer we are to achieving the goal of increasing screening."

A survey released today by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer found that 60 per cent of Manitobans in the 50 to 74 year old target age group had received testing for colorectal cancer screening within the recommended timeframe, higher than the national average of 44 per cent. This further validates data released by Statistics Canada last year that found Manitoba had the highest rate of testing, at 53.3 per cent among adults over 50.

With funding from Manitoba Health, CancerCare Manitoba established the Manitoba Colorectal Cancer Screening Program in April 2007. Officially renamed ColonCheck Manitoba, its goal is to help detect colorectal cancer early and reduce the number of Manitobans who die from the disease.  

Visit for program details or ColonCheck Manitoba at 788-8635 or toll free 1-866-744-8961.


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