Pediatric Oncology nurse’s healthy lifestyle includes roller derby and cancer screening

Pediatric Oncology Nurse Jill Watt is among the newest additions to Hammer City Roller Derby (HCRD).  The Binbrook resident took up the sport last summer, joining the Derby 101 beginners’ program as a way to meet new people and stay in shape after the birth of her son, Percy. From there, Jill moved to the Smash Squad where freshly minted 101 grads hone their skills, join contact drills and try out for the rep league if they’re so inclined. Jill earned a place on the team late last year, making this her first season playing league games.

“Roller Derby is a really fun way to stay active,” says Jill, 36, whose healthy lifestyle choices also include cervical cancer screening.

HCRD is teaming up with the Regional Cancer Program to promote cervical cancer screening. The Ontario Cervical Screening Program (OCSP) recommends that eligible women get a free Pap test every three years through their healthcare provider, such as a family doctor or nurse practitioner. Pap tests are recommended for women ages 21 to 69 who have ever been sexually active. Pap tests are also recommended for members of the LGBTQ community who were born with a cervix.

“Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable, but it means staying up-to-date with Pap tests,” says Dr. Dustin Costescu, Regional Colposcopy/Cervical Lead and an Assistant Professor and Family Planning Specialist at McMaster University.  “A Pap test looks for signs of cancer before it starts, and we can treat those signs so that people never go on to develop cervical cancer.”

Most cervical cancers are found in women who never had a Pap test, or were screened less often than recommended by Ontario’s cervical screening guidelines.

Cancer Care Ontario also recommends routine breast and colon cancer screening every two years as part of a healthy lifestyle, starting at age 50. The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) offers free mammograms to women aged 50 to 74 with no signs of breast cancer. Early detection through mammography can result in more treatment options.

Men and women, ages 50 to 74, with no symptoms or family history of colon cancer can do an easy take-home screening test through the province’s ColonCancerCheck program. Colon cancer is highly treatable when caught early. In fact, nine out of every 10 people with this cancer can be cured thanks largely to early detection.

“Life can get really busy, but staying up-to-date with cancer screening is a very important part of self-care,” says Jill. “My mother is a breast cancer survivor. Her family doctor noted a lump during a routine check-up and ordered a mammogram that confirmed a mass. Her treatment included surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy.  She is fine now, enjoying retired life being a grandma.”

Jill will likely start breast screening before age 50 due to her family history. Anyone with questions about cancer screening is encouraged to talk to their healthcare provider. For more information about cancer screening, visit For more on HCRD, visit