More Canadians are getting checked, but many still confused about when
to do it
TORONTO, Feb. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - New survey results released to mark World
Cancer Day 2012 (February 4th) suggest that awareness initiatives to promote colon cancer screening
are working. Half (50 per cent) of Canadians age 50 to 74 polled have
been screened for colon cancer, showing a Canada-wide increase when
compared to similar data captured in 2009. However more than half (53
per cent) of those polled incorrectly believe that people should only
get checked after experiencing symptoms. An estimated 22,200 Canadians
were diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011 and 8,900 people died of it.
"Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Canada, but
it is also highly treatable if detected early through screening," says
the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, federal Minster of Health. "This trend
towards improved colon cancer screening is therefore extremely
encouraging, and exemplifies why our government funded the
implementation of a national cancer strategy through the Canadian
Partnership Against Cancer. More than ever cancer care organizations,
healthcare providers and other stakeholders from across the country are
working together on shared goals for the benefit of more Canadians."
Commissioned by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and its National
Colorectal Cancer Screening Network, the Colon Cancer Screening in Canada survey polled 4,050 Canadians aged 45 to 74 years old on their
understanding and attitudes towards getting checked for colon cancer.
Conducted by Ipsos Reid, the survey builds on results from a related
survey conducted in 2009. The survey is part of the nationwide
'Colonversation' campaign, which launched in 2010 and features
colonversation.ca, an online resource to help all Canadians learn more
about the importance of colon cancer screening.
"Screening programs are now in place across the country and great work
is being done to encourage Canadians to talk with their family, friends
and health care providers about colon cancer and the importance of
screening," says Dr. Heather Bryant, Vice-President, Cancer Control,
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. "Most importantly there has been
an improvement in screening rates over the last two years. But there is
still much to be done. Colon cancer screening still needs to become a
regular part of people's health routine for people age 50 and older."
Colon Cancer Screening in Canada Survey Highlights
The percentage of Canadians who say they have been checked for colon
cancer has increased:
Half of Canadians age 50 to 74 are up-to-date with their colon cancer
screening tests (FOBT and colonoscopy), which is within the past two
years for fecal (stool) tests (FOBT/FIT) and past five years for
colonoscopy - 50 per cent, compared to 44 per cent in 2009.
Many Canadians are making the mistake of waiting for symptoms before
92 per cent of Canadians know cancer screening is a medical test to
detect cancer, but more than half (53 per cent) mistakenly think
initial screening should happen only after they notice symptoms.
Men are more likely than women (58 per cent vs. 49 per cent
respectively) to think that screening occurs after symptoms develop.
At 50 per cent, self-reported screening rates for colon cancer are lower
compared to those for other types of cancer:
77 per cent of women aged 50 to 74 report having had a mammogram in the
past two years.
Canadians having 'colonversations':
The Colon Cancer Screening in Canada survey found that 39 per cent of Canadians aged 50 to 74 have discussed getting
tested for colon cancer with a family member, and 30 per cent have had
the same discussion with a friend.
The survey found more Canadians are discussing colon cancer testing with
a doctor - about half of Canadians aged 50 to 74 recall having the
conversation with a doctor.
When a discussion with a doctor takes place, colon cancer screening was
recommended nearly nine times out of ten.
"I had never been screened for colon cancer, and didn't know anything
about it until received a home screening test through Manitoba's
ColonCheck screening program," says Mr. Douglas Grant of Winnipeg. "I
had no symptoms or pain, but the test looked easy and I could do it at
home so I thought, why not?"
The results of the home screening test showed hidden blood in the stool
samples, so Mr. Grant had the follow up test, the colonoscopy. "The
doctor told me they found a large polyp. If they didn't find it and
remove it, it was the type of polyp that could have turned into cancer.
I'm glad I did the test."
About Colon Cancer Screening
Getting checked, otherwise known as being screened, for colon cancer is
an important method of disease prevention and early detection. Clearly,
anyone with symptoms or signs of colorectal cancer needs to discuss the
appropriate tests with their doctors. But we now know that screening -
a test done when a person has no signs or symptoms of the disease - is
also important to prevent deaths from colon cancer. Because colon
cancer - also known as colorectal or bowel cancer - often develops from
a benign or non-cancerous polyp, it can actually be prevented when
these polyps are discovered early and removed.
There are a number of tests that check for colon cancer. Non-invasive
stool tests, such as guaiac FOBT and Fecal Immunochemical Tests (FIT),
look for blood released by fragile blood vessels in polyps.
"Screening for colorectal cancer works and people appear to know more
about the availability of the at-home screening kit," says Gillian
Bromfield, Director, Cancer Control Policy, Canadian Cancer Society and
member of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer's Screening Advisory
Group. "The more Canadians participate in the provincial programs, the
better chance we have to find and treat these cancers early, which can
save lives. These survey findings are truly encouraging."
If positive, an internal examination of the colon is recommended
(colonscopy). A colonoscopy is done with a thin flexible tube
containing a light and a video camera that can be connected to a
display monitor. Any polyps or other abnormalities can be biopsied and
sent to a laboratory to determine if cancer cells are present.
Encouraging Canadians to have 'colonversations'
Colonversation.ca is a national resource for all Canadians to learn more
about the importance of colon cancer screening. The site is part of a
nationwide awareness program to help Canadians understand the facts
about getting checked for colon cancer. It includes detailed
information on risk factors, videos and written instructions about the
at home colon cancer screening kits, and links to provincial screening
information on screening programs. The Colonversation Campaign is an
initiative of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer's National
Colorectal Cancer Screening Network.
Visit colonversation.ca for more information about colon cancer screening and to find out more
about how to get checked in your province.
About the National Colorectal Cancer Screening Network
Established by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer in 2007, the
National Colorectal Cancer Screening Network is building momentum
towards a shared approach to colorectal cancer screening across the
country. Programs are shared to support improved quality and
consistency as each province and territory develops its own screening
program, evaluation methods, quality initiatives and outreach. At
present, membership includes program staff, provincial and territorial
government representatives and representatives from the Canadian Cancer
Society, Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Medical Association,
Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada and Canadian Association of
About the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is an organization funded by the federal government to accelerate action
on cancer control for all Canadians. Bringing together cancer experts,
government representatives, patient and survivor groups, including the
Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Cancer Action Network to
implement the first pan-Canadian cancer control strategy, the vision is
to be a driving force to achieve a focused approach that will help
prevent cancer, enhance the quality of life of those affected by
cancer, lessen the likelihood of dying from cancer, and increase the
efficiency of cancer control in Canada. For more information, visit partnershipagainstcancer.ca. The Partnership is also the driving force behind cancerview.ca, an online community linking Canadians to cancer information, services
The Colon Cancer Screening in Canada 2011 survey was conducted from
September 8 to 27th, 2011 by Ipsos Reid. The study surveyed 4,050
Canadians aged 45 to 74, with 3,001 interviews conducted by telephone
using random digit dialing, and 1,049 recruited via Ipsos Reid's online
panel. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and
a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of
+/-1.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would
have been had the entire population of Canadian adults 45-74 been
polled. The sample was stratified by region, with quotas set by gender
and age to achieve a representative sample of Canadians 45 to 74 within
each province/territory. The data were weighted to ensure that the
sample's regional and age/sex/education composition reflects that of
the actual Canadian population according to Census data.
SOURCE Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
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