Hockey legend Darryl Sittler wants men to call the shots on colon cancer and get screened

Getting screened with a take-home test is simple, safe and painless – and it could save your life

TORONTO, March 1, 2016 /CNW/ - March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Cancer Care Ontario has partnered with Colon Cancer Canada and former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Darryl Sittler to invite eligible men to 'Call the Shots on Colon Cancer' and get screened with a simple take-home test.

While colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, it's highly treatable when caught early. The fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is safe, painless and can be done at home.

"Most often, a person with colon cancer has no early symptoms," says Dr. Catherine Dubé, Clinical Lead, ColonCancerCheck, Cancer Care Ontario. "If you have colon cancer and do not get tested, you may miss out on the chance for early and more effective treatment. Getting screened also means that you can find colon cancer before you get problems like diarrhea and stomach pain, which can happen in the later stages of the disease. When caught early, nine out of every 10 people with colon cancer can be cured."

After losing his wife to colon cancer in 2001, Sittler understands the importance of getting screened all too well. He now gets screened regularly and encourages his family and friends to do the same.

"People may assume that they don't need to get screened for colon cancer if they have no symptoms, but that couldn't be further from the truth," says Sittler. "Screening lets people stay a step ahead of the game and find cancer early when it's easier to treat. Even if no one else in your family has had colon cancer, it's important to get screened regularly to make sure you're healthy."

"When it comes to colon cancer, the most important conversation we should be having is about early screening and prevention – that's where we can make a difference", says Amy Elmaleh, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Colon Cancer Canada.

Cancer Care Ontario recommends that men and women at average risk aged 50 to 74 get screened for colon cancer with an FOBT every two years. The FOBT is a test that checks your stool (poop) for blood, which can be caused by colon cancer. An abnormal result does not necessarily mean that you have colon cancer, but does mean that additional testing is needed.

"When a person reaches 50 years of age, the risk of colon cancer rises," says Dubé. "Many people aren't sure where to start, but it's as simple as booking an appointment with your healthcare provider to talk about getting screened. It's a critical conversation that could save your life."

"The ColonCancerCheck program offers free cancer screening services to men and women aged 50 to 74 in Ontario," says Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "Cancer screening is easy and it saves lives. It is imperative that Ontarians get screened for cancer, and we have worked hard to expand screening services and availability across the province."

Talk to your healthcare provider today about getting screened for colon cancer with a take-home FOBT kit. For more information about how you can 'Call the Shots on Colon Cancer', visit cancercare.on.ca/colon.

People without a healthcare provider can get an FOBT kit by contacting Telehealth Ontario at 1.866.828.9213. More information is available at ontario.ca/coloncancercheck.

About Cancer Care Ontario:

Cancer Care Ontario plays an important role in equipping health professionals, organizations and policy-makers with the most up-to-date cancer knowledge and tools to prevent cancer and deliver high quality patient care. 

It does this by collecting and analyzing data about cancer services and combining it with evidence and research that is shared with the healthcare community in the form of guidelines and standards. It also monitors and measures the performance of the cancer system, and oversees a funding and governance model that ties funding to performance, making healthcare providers more accountable and ensuring value for investments in the system.

Cancer Care Ontario actively engages people with cancer and their families in the design, delivery and evaluation of Ontario's cancer system, and works to improve the performance of Ontario's cancer system by driving quality, accountability, innovation and value.

About Colon Cancer Canada:

Colon Cancer Canada is the only national charity funding all three key areas of need: research, patient support, and awareness. From a small, family-run charity founded in 1996, Colon Cancer Canada has grown into a robust national organization, attracting the attention of many prominent Canadian celebrity ambassadors including Anne Murray, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Darryl Sittler, Neil Crone, and Adam VanKoeverden

Colon Cancer Canada has funded fellowships and research chairs, financed hospital and screening equipment and works to increase awareness about the need for early screening. Colon Cancer Canada provides education and support resources for colon cancer patients, their families and caregivers.

SOURCE Cancer Care Ontario

For further information: Cancer Care Ontario, Phone: 1.855.460.2646, Email: media@cancercare.on.ca; Colon Cancer Canada, Holly Thornton, Phone: 647.642.6846, Email: holly@publicinc.com

RELATED LINKS
http://www.cancercare.on.ca

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