Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Celebrates Progress - More Change Critical



    TORONTO, March 3 /CNW/ - Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month comes on the
heels of a year that saw many positive and exciting changes to the state of
colorectal cancer prevention and treatment in Canada. Three provinces
officially announced screening programs in 2007: Ontario, Manitoba and
Alberta, and several others are in the early stages of developing their own:
Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Quebec. Although screening has
not been implemented on a national scale for this highly preventable disease,
the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) is working to change that.
    This March, the CCAC is calling on all provinces and territories to
follow the lead of the provinces that have committed to screening, and swiftly
implement their own programs to reduce the number of fatalities from Canada's
second-leading cause of cancer death. "The CCAC has pledged its support to
work with key decision-makers across Canada to promote the implementation of
colorectal cancer screening programs, and we have been hard at work this past
year," said Barry Stein, president of the CCAC.
    Access to effective medications has also seen recent progress in Canada,
but not enough. Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland now
fund Avastin (bevacizumab), an effective medication that has been shown to
extend life in patients with advanced colorectal cancer. "Patients who do not
live in the above provinces are forced to either pay the high cost of the
drug, if not covered by insurance, or forego the treatment altogether," said
Stein. "We believe all Canadians, regardless of where they live, should have
access to the standard of care for the treatment of colorectal cancer.
Canadians should not be deprived of this significant advance in the treatment
of the disease."
    During March Awareness Month, the CCAC will be carrying out programs to
increase awareness of colorectal cancer among the public, which will include
distributing television, radio and print public service announcements to the
media, and providing educational materials to patients, doctors' offices,
clinics, and hospitals across Canada. Information sessions and forums on
colorectal cancer for patients and the public will also be held across the
country, and will continue year round.
    The CCAC recommends all Canadians (of average risk) age 50 and over be
screened for colorectal cancer at least once every two years with a fecal
occult blood test (FOBT). Those at a higher risk of developing the disease,
for example individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer, should
speak to their doctors about earlier and more frequent testing, including the
use of colonoscopy.
    The CCAC welcomes all Canadians interested in their health, and the
health of their loved ones, to visit our website, www.colorectal-cancer.ca,
for up-to-date information on colorectal cancer, or to call our toll-free
number, 1.877.50.COLON(26566) to order free copies of our educational
materials.

    Note to Editors:

    About Colorectal Cancer

    Colorectal cancer - cancer of the colon or rectum - is the second-leading
cause of cancer death in Canada. The disease surpasses both breast and
prostate cancer in mortality.
    Though over 90 per cent preventable and curable when detected early, an
estimated 20,800 Canadians were diagnosed with the disease last year, and
approximately 8,700 died from it.
    An almost equal number of men and women are affected by colorectal
cancer. One in 14 men and one in 16 women are expected to develop the disease
during their lifetime. One in 28 men and one in 31 women will die from it.

    About the CCAC

    The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is the country's leading
non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of colorectal
cancer, supporting patients, and advocating for national screening and timely
access to effective treatments.





For further information:

For further information: or to schedule an interview with Barry Stein
contact: Hilary Christo, Communications Officer, Colorectal Cancer Association
of Canada, (416) 920-4333 ext. 27, hilaryc@colorectal-cancer.ca

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Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada

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