March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month - Myths, Facts, and what your health ministers have to say

MONTREAL, March 1, 2013 /CNW/ - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

This message may just Save Your Butt! The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) wants you to remind every man and woman that you know turning fifty (50) this year that it's time to get screened for colorectal cancer. Your message could be the best gift they ever receive, because it just might save their life. Here are the reasons:

Colorectal cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in Canada for men and women combined. Over 23,000 Canadian men and women will be diagnosed with the disease this year alone and sadly over 9,000 people will die from it.  A simple screening test can help prevent colon cancer. In fact, colon cancer is over 90% Preventable, Treatable and Beatable if found in its early stages. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that since they have no symptoms they don't have to be screened. Waiting for symptoms before getting screened could be a big mistake.

    "Do not wait until you have symptoms to get screened, simply get screened at 50 years of age," said, Barry D. Stein president of the CCAC. "Too many people believe that they need to have symptoms before getting screened when in fact it's just the opposite. Screening means doing a simple test to prevent cancer or find it at its earliest stages. More than half of people diagnosed have no symptoms whatsoever.
    Symptoms such as a change in stools, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, anemia or constant tiredness can all signal colon cancer. Once the symptoms start to develop it may be a sign of more advanced disease," he emphasized.

Myths & Facts

Myth Colorectal cancer is a man's disease.
Truth Colorectal cancer affects both men and women equally.
Myth  Once diagnosed with colorectal cancer, it is too late to do anything.
Truth Colorectal cancer is preventable and highly treatable when caught at an early stage. People diagnosed at early stages have a very high likelihood of being cured.
Myth  You don't need to get screened if there is no family history of the disease.
Truth  Even if you don't have a family history of colorectal cancer, screening is recommended as of the age of 50. If it does run in the family, you may need to start screening even before age 50.
Myth A colonoscopy is the only way to screen for colorectal cancer.
Truth There are several screening options for colorectal cancer, including fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and fecal immunochemical test (FIT).
Myth Finding a "polyp" means I have cancer.
Truth Polyps are benign growths that, if left unchecked, have the potential to develop into cancer. Polyps can be easily removed during a colonoscopy. Since generally it can take several years for a polyp to turn into cancer, by removing it at an early stage, it is prevented from becoming cancerous.
Myth If I have colorectal cancer, it means I will die.
Truth When colorectal cancer is caught early it has an over 90% survival rate. That's why screening is so important.
Myth Physical activity is good only for the heart.
Truth Physical activity is associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer. Even moderate physical activity can be beneficial. . Exercising can reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as 40 percent.
Myth What I consume won't affect my chances of getting colorectal cancer.
Truth Fruit, vegetables, and fiber are associated with lowered risk of colorectal cancer. There is some evidence of an association between colorectal cancer and red meat. Smoking and alcohol consumption is associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer. Aspirin and vitamin D are associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer.
Consult with your doctor about the possibility of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as acetylsalicylic acid, which have been found to reduce the risk colorectal cancer. However, there are risks (and other benefits) associated with the routine use of NSAIDS.

How to Help Prevent Colorectal Cancer

    1) If you're 50 or older, get screened!
    2) Go to a doctor if you have any of the above mentioned colon cancer symptoms.
    3) Eat a balanced diet rich in fibre, fruit and vegetables.
    4) Maintain a healthy weight.
    5) Maintain an active lifestyle and exercise regularly.
    6) Don't smoke and reduce alcohol consumption.
    7) Talk to a doctor about your personal and family medical history.

The CCAC promotes population-based screening programs in every province and has led the way in encouraging individuals to get screened through various campaigns on television, radio, print and through the use of its grass roots campaign spearheaded by its Giant Colon exhibits that tour the country.

Once again the CCAC is launching its 2nd annual National Dress in Blue Day to bring nationwide attention to colorectal cancer and to celebrate the courage of those touched by this disease. The CCAC is asking the public to participate by wearing blue and donating to the CCAC on March 1st, 2013 to help promote colorectal cancer awareness.

About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, cancer of the colon or rectum, is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Canada.  Though highly preventable and curable when detected early, an estimated 23,300 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and approximately 9,200 sadly will die from it.

An almost equal number of men and women are affected by colorectal cancer.  One in 13 men and one in 16 women are expected to develop the disease during their lifetime. One in 28 men and one in 32 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 and equal access to effective treatment options to improve patient outcomes.

Visit the CCAC website,, for up-to-date information on colorectal cancer or call the toll-free number, 1.877.50.COLON (26566) to order free copies of helpful educational materials. CCAC campaigns can be viewed at

Dress in Blue to raise awareness for colorectal cancer. For more information, please visit



Image with caption: "What your health ministers have to say about colorectal cancer (CNW Group/Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada)". Image available at:

SOURCE: Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada

For further information:

For more information about colorectal cancer or The Giant Colon Tour, or to schedule an interview please contact:

Alexandra Apkarian
Tel: 514.875.7745 ext. 227

Barry D. Stein
President, CCAC
Work: 514.875.7899
Cell: 514.944.0200

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Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada

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