CancerCare Manitoba
News Item

March 14, 2013

Manitobans Reminded of the Importance of Colon Cancer Screening

During colorectal cancer awareness month, Manitobans are encouraged to do an easy test to screen for colon cancer, a small step that can help identify cancer earlier and result in better health outcomes.

"The time to check for colorectal cancer is before symptoms start, which is why all eligible Manitobans should take this simple test at home," said Health Minister Theresa Oswald. "Our province already has the highest screening rate in the country and more tests performed means more lives saved by early detection."

Over 60 per cent of eligible Manitobans aged 50 to 74 report they are up-to-date with screening for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is the second leading cause of death due to cancer in Manitoba but when found early, it can be successfully treated up to 90 per cent of the time.

Dr. Donna Turner joins Mayor Sam Katz in raising the ColonCheck flag as Dr. Kathleen Clouston looks on.

"Research shows that one of the top reasons why someone will get screened is because their primary care provider recommended it. ColonCheck provides information on screening guidelines to ensure primary care providers are up-to-date," said Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, President and Chief Executive Officer of CancerCare Manitoba, adding ColonCheck partners with 18 rural clinics and 36 urban clinics to provide the home screening test to their patients.

Recently, ColonCheck added a nurse practitioner to their team to assess people before colonoscopy, a necessary procedure following an abnormal screening test. This additional support has resulted in shorter wait times for patients.

In 2012, approximately 870 Manitobans were diagnosed with the disease and 330 people died from it. Since its start in 2007, over 70,000 men and women have completed ColonCheck's home screening test.

To request a home screening test, Manitobans can fill in an online form on CancerCare Manitoba's website at, call 1-866-744-8961, or speak to their health care provider.

ColonCheck has been working with all regional health authorities to make home screening tests even more accessible to make it easier for Manitobans to get the kit.

ColonCheck mails eligible men and women a home screening test called the Fecal Occult Blood test. Done in the privacy of the bathroom, the test can detect hidden blood in the stool when analyzed. Colon cancer grows slowly, which means precancerous growths (polyps) in the colon can be detected and removed before colon cancer forms. Early detection through screening is essential in finding polyps and colon cancer because there are usually no warning signs.

To learn more about the province's cancer strategy focusing on prevention, diagnostics and treatment, the minister invites Manitobans to visit

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