Quebec has a unique opportunity to lead the way in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer



    MONTREAL, Sept. 27 /CNW/ - The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada
commends the Quebec Government's announcement of a Cancer Control Strategy for
the province "Orientations prioritaires 2007-2012 du Programme québécois de
lutte contre le cancer."
    Rebalancing the health system to ensure that the patient is at the centre
of Quebec health care is a key objective and one which should be reflected in
the Quebec strategy in order to improve the quality of life of patients in
Quebec and the population as a whole.
    If the object is to reduce the incidence of cancer, reduce the likelihood
of dying of cancer, and improve the quality of life of those living with
cancer then Quebec must take concrete steps to bring about change sooner than
later.
    Quebec has a unique opportunity to lead the way in the prevention and
treatment of colorectal cancer and our government should not waste any further
time before implementing a population based colorectal cancer screening
program.
    Colorectal cancer affects women almost as much as men and it is the
second biggest cancer killer in Quebec. This year in Quebec approximately
5,400 people will be diagnosed with the disease and sadly 2,400 people will
die from it. One in 14 men and one in 16 women are expected to develop
colorectal cancer during their lifetime. One in 28 men will die from it and
one in 31 women will die from it. It is also 90% curable if caught early.
    So why wait any longer? Why should we lose one more life unnecessarily?
And why when we have known for years that we could have prevented thousands of
Quebecers from getting this disease, do we deprive them from the most advanced
treatments in accordance with prescribed treatment guidelines?
    "We are at a crossroads in Quebec where the cost of cancer treatment is
escalating and our government is hard pressed to pay for these treatments. As
newer biologics and small molecules are used in the targeted battle against
cancer, Quebec must think to the future and not only implement a screening
program for the general population, but also ensure that those already touched
by the disease have timely and equal access across the province to the most
effective treatments," said Barry D. Stein president of the Colorectal Cancer
Association of Canada (CCAC).
    "While some people still debate the cost effectiveness of a screening
program other countries such as Finland, England and Australia and indeed
other Canadian provinces (Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta) are moving ahead
diligently with the implementation of colorectal cancer screening programs.
Other provinces such as British Columbia have programs waiting for approval
before their Ministry of Health and still others such as Nova Scotia are
developing plans to bring in colorectal cancer screening in the near future,"
said Stein.
    Stein added that education about Healthy Lifestyles combined with
screening will save more than just lives. "Not only will we benefit from a
reduction in the amount of deaths and unnecessary pain and suffering from the
disease, but we will save millions of dollars by reducing the number of people
who require expensive treatment and medications," he added.
    To promote screening, the CCAC has launched an awareness campaign in
Quebec on TV and in print with the late George Thurston (Boule Noire) and
other Quebec personalities such as Gilles Renaud to draw attention to this
important issue.
    The CCAC also hosted a national Colorectal Cancer Round Table earlier
this year in Montreal bringing together key stakeholders from across the
country and the province to find ways to increase colorectal cancer screening
as well as timely access to effective treatment. As a result of the CCAC
efforts screening has become a national priority within the new Canadian
Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC).

    NOTES TO EDITORS:

    About colon cancer

    Colorectal cancer - cancer of the colon or rectum - is the second leading
cause of cancer deaths overall in men and women in Canada. The disease
surpasses both breast and prostate cancer in mortality, and is second only to
lung cancer in numbers of cancer deaths.
    Even though it is preventable, an estimated 20,800 (5,400 in Quebec)
Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, and
approximately 8,700(2,400 in Quebec) are estimated to die from it. An almost
equal number of men and women are diagnosed each year with colorectal cancer
in Canada.
    On average, 385 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer every
week and 163 people will die from it every week. One in 14 men and one in 16
women are expected to develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. One in
28 men will die from it and one in 31 women will die from it.

    About CCAC

    The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is a non-profit organization
whose mission is to increase awareness and educate Canadians about colorectal
cancer, support patients and their families, and advocate for a national
screening policy and timely access to treatment and diagnostics.
    Visit the CCAC's website for additional information on colorectal cancer
at www.colorectal-cancer.ca or call 1 877 50 COLON, 514 875 7745, 416 920 4333





For further information:

For further information: or to schedule an interview with a patient or
physician, please contact: Barry D. Stein, Colorectal Cancer Association of
Canada, Cell: (514) 944-0200, barrys@colorectal-cancer.ca, (514) 875-7899, or
(514) 875-7745

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Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada

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