45-foot-long coach bus offers breast, cervical and colon cancer screening to residents facing barriers
ST. CATHARINES (Oct. 6, 2017) – The Mobile Cancer Screening Coach, as part of the Regional Cancer Program, is offering free cancer screening services Oct. 19 and 20 at the Quest Community Health Centre (CHC) in St. Catharines during Community Health and Wellbeing Week, celebrated by CHCs across Niagara.
The Coach brings the province’s three organized, high-quality cancer screening programs to residents living in the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN who are under or never screened, meaning they are eligible for free cancer screening but have never taken part or they participated once and didn’t return. Screening can catch signs of cancer early, when it’s easier to treat.
The Mobile Cancer Screening Coach has been operating in St. Catharines two days a month since July. The goal is to increase cancer screening rates among Niagara residents who face barriers to screening. This could include people without a family doctor or nurse practitioner, and/or those who have a regular healthcare provider but face transportation, cultural, or other personal barriers to participating in screening.
The Regional Cancer Program encourages residents to see their regular healthcare provider as the very best option. For those facing barriers, the 45-foot-long Mobile Cancer Screening Coach offers breast, cervical and colon cancer screening through the Ontario Breast Screening Program, Ontario Cervical Screening Program and ColonCancerCheck. It’s staffed by a team of Regional Cancer Program registered nurses, medical radiation technologists and a booking clerk.
Eligibility for screening is based on age, gender, personal and family health histories. Everyone visiting the Mobile Cancer Screening Coach meets with a registered nurse who takes a brief health history to determine what cancer screening tests are right for them. Mammograms are available for women ages 50 to 74 through the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) and Pap tests for women ages 21 to 69 through the Ontario Cervical Screening Program (OCSP). The Mobile Cancer Screening Coach features a state-of-the-art digital mammography suite, private exam room, sitting area and wheelchair accessibility.
The registered nurse can also distribute an easy take-home test through the province’s ColonCancerCheck program that screens for signs of colon cancer, a highly treatable disease when caught early. The Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is recommended for men and women, ages 50 to 74, with no symptoms or family history of colon cancer. Services also include smoking cessation referral for screening-age clients.
The Mobile Cancer Screening Coach has been serving under and never screened residents in Hamilton since 2013. It also serves the Six Nations and New Credit Reserves. Expansion to St. Catharines has taken place in collaboration with community partners including the Niagara Health System, Niagara Region Public Health, Niagara’s CHCs, Wellspring Niagara and the Indigenous Health Network as part of a broader regional plan to improve cancer screening rates in the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN.
The Mobile Cancer Screening Coach complements existing cancer screening services in Niagara including six OBSP screening sites, three OBSP assessment sites, three hospitals offering endoscopy services as part of ColonCancerCheck, as well as access to Pap tests and the FOBT through local healthcare providers.
“We appreciate the strong community partnerships that helped make expansion into Niagara possible,” said Quest CHC Executive Director Coletta McGrath. “Screening is a powerful tool in cancer prevention and early detection, and the Coach makes screening tests easier to access for Niagara residents facing barriers.”
The Mobile Cancer Screening Coach will be at Quest CHC from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 19 and 20. Residents can drop in or book ahead by calling 905-975-4467 or 1-855-338-3131. The monthly schedule is available at hnhbscreenforlife.ca.
Media Inquiries: For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program
Office: 905-521-2100, ext. 79280