Colorectal Cancer Screening Champion recognized for outstanding leadership

As Nurse Clinician for GI Endoscopy at HHS, Tracey Corner provides much-needed support to newly diagnosed colon cancer patients.

“It’s extremely rewarding to help patients during this very stressful and difficult time,” said Tracey, a registered nurse who has specialized in colon cancer screening for over a decade.

Tracey was recently recognized with a plaque for her outstanding leadership in the Registered Nurse Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (RNFS) program over the past 10 years. It was presented by Dr. Stephen Kelly, Head of Surgical Oncology for HHS, and Carol Rand, Director of Regional Cancer Programs.

Tracey was the first nurse in Canada certified to perform a flexible sigmoidoscopy through the RNFS program introduced 10 years ago by Cancer Care Ontario. The procedure involves inserting a soft, flexible, lighted tube into a patient’s rectum and examining the lower third of the colon for polyps that could cause cancer. Designed for average-risk patients, the procedure was performed exclusively by physicians until 2007 when the RNFS program launched as a pilot.

The Regional Cancer Program worked collaboratively with the Endoscopy Program to implement the first of 10 pilot sites in the Province. “Tracey was the first nurse in the Province to complete the training and work independently under the medical directive of a physician,” said Kathleen Badeau, Clinical Manager of Perioperative and Endoscopy Services for HHS.

During Tracey’s 10 years with the RNFS program she completed over 4,500 procedures, of which approximately 1,350 patients had polyps and 15 had cancer. Tracey was a leader both regionally and provincially in this role because of her knowledge and expertise. She was highly regarded by Primary Care Physicians for her commitment to colorectal cancer screening.

HHS stopped performing the flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure last summer due to shifting priorities in preparation for the implementation in Ontario of the fecal immunochemical test (FIT). This screening test uses specific antibodies for human blood to find blood in the stool. If blood is found, the next step is a colonoscopy.

“We wanted to celebrate Tracey’s significant contributions to screening through the RNFS program as well as her new role as Nurse Clinician for GI Endoscopy,” said Dr. Kelly.