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Colorectal cancer can be nipped in the bud with screening

NIAGARA — It was a colon the size of a school bus that you could literally walk through and see hemorrhoids bigger than beach balls in, but thankfully it wasn’t situated in the food court at the Pen Centre.Instead, the behemoth of a rectum and large intestine was in the Sears court on Friday, and Ruth Peters is hoping the jarring sight will help to reverse the fact that day in and day out, people across Ontario are dying from a form of cancer that’s almost entirely preventable.

Instead, the behemoth of a rectum and large intestine was in the Sears court on Friday, and Ruth Peters is hoping the jarring sight will help to reverse the fact that day in and day out, people across Ontario are dying from a form of cancer that’s almost entirely preventable.Peters, clinical manager of endoscopy at the Niagara Health System, which has full endoscopy suites at its St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Falls hospitals, was on hand along with other NHS nurse and health promotion experts and officials from the

Peters, clinical manager of endoscopy at the Niagara Health System, which has full endoscopy suites at its St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Falls hospitals, was on hand along with other NHS nurse and health promotion experts and officials from the Juravinsky Cancer Centre in Hamilton to lead guided tours of the giant colon from the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada.The huge, pink multi-media creation that will also be

The huge, pink multi-media creation that will also be in the mall on Saturday is a form of shock therapy meant to get people to start thinking seriously about screening for colorectal cancer.ColonCancerCheck, a province-wide screening partnership between the Ontario government and Cancer Care Ontario, says colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the province, with about 8,100 Ontarians diagnosed with

ColonCancerCheck, a province-wide screening partnership between the Ontario government and Cancer Care Ontario, says colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the province, with about 8,100 Ontarians diagnosed with the cancer each year and about 3,300 dying from it.One of the sinister aspects of colorectal cancer is that in the early stages there are no symptoms. By the time symptoms arise, it has only a tiny survival rate.

One of the sinister aspects of colorectal cancer is that in the early stages there are no symptoms. By the time symptoms arise, it has only a tiny survival rate.But, caught early, it has a whopping survival rate of 90

But, caught early, it has a whopping survival rate of 90 per cent, said Peters.
The key, she said, is screening.

ColonCancerCheck offers a free, simply kit known as a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) that people aged 50 and over can do in the privacy of their own home. The kits, available from family doctors, by email at ColonCancerCheck.moh@ontario.ca or by calling 1-866-410-5853, test for blood in people’s stool.The completed test kits are mailed to a lab; if a problem is detected, people are referred to get a colonoscopy to look for polyps or other problems.

The completed test kits are mailed to a lab; if a problem is detected, people are referred to get a colonoscopy to look for polyps or other problems.
Peters said the little polyps themselves aren’t cancerous. But over time they can change.“If you never get it looked at, it can grow and grow and become cancer,” she said. “If you catch it early and remove it, it’s cured.”

“If you never get it looked at, it can grow and grow and become cancer,” she said. “If you catch it early and remove it, it’s cured.”

ColonCancerCheck says less than a third of Ontarians over age 50 are bothering to take a FOBT test within the recommended timeframe of every two years. Peters said her goal is to have every Niagara resident in that age group buy into screening.

“If we catch it early, it’s cured,” she said. “We can nip it in the bud.”

Rita Loeffen, a registered nurse who works with surgeons in the NHS endoscopy suites who perform colonoscopies, said the human butt can be a window into various conditions such as colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease and colitis, and even diverticulosis — a condition when small, bulging pouches developed in the digestive tract and can become inflamed or infected.

People need not hear the word ‘colonoscopy’ with fear, said Loeffen, noting patients are often sedated and find the procedure — inserting a long, flexible tube with a camera through the rectum into the colon and removing polyps if necessary — isn’t nearly as bad as they imagined.

“It’s amazing how many patients come in in anxiety and afraid,” she said.“For the most part, when it’s over they say ‘you’re done? That really wasn’t anything.’

“It’s not a big deal.”

(Source: Niagara This Week)

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