Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada applauds Quebec's decision to
implement colorectal cancer screening pilot

MONTREAL, June 2 /CNW/ - The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) applauds the decision of the Quebec Ministry of Health (Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux - MSSS, and its Minister Yves Bolduc to implement a colorectal cancer screening pilot in anticipation of launching a province wide colorectal cancer screening program.

The recent decision of the Ministry is a prelude to the launching of a screening program that will target men and women of average risk between the ages of 50-74. Average risk individuals are those who have no symptoms and who do not have a family history of the disease. The program will ensure that participants are provided with information to making an informed decision on whether or not to participate in the screening program.

Individuals with a high risk of colorectal cancer, that is, those who have a family history of the disease, will have access to screening that corresponds to their risk, namely a colonoscopy. The program will use either a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) as an initial test and participants who test positive will go on to receive a colonoscopy.

The pilot program will commence in several jurisdictions to be determined later this year. The specific sites will be selected by the MSSS in order to ensure that the clinical, quality and performance standards will be adhered to and that there will be timely access to a colonoscopy for those who require it.

The pilot program will have two phases. The first phase will be to ensure the accessibility to colonoscopy within an appropriate time frame for individuals for whom a colonoscopy is clinically required such as those who are already displaying symptoms or who are being monitored for a diagnosed disease. The second phase will be to systematically offer screening to high risk individuals such as those who have a family history of the disease. The parameters of the screening program will be finalized based on the results of the pilot program.

"Colorectal cancer screening is essential for Quebecers as it is 90% preventable and curable if caught in its early stages. This year, we anticipate that approximately 5,900 Quebecers will be diagnosed with the disease and about 2,500 will die from it. Screening will not only help to reduce the incidence of the disease by finding and removing polyps before they become cancerous, but will also increase survival by affording individuals with early stage disease the ability to obtain treatment when the disease is most curable," said Barry D. Stein, president of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada.

"The CCAC has been advocating for primary prevention, screening and equal and timely access to effective treatments throughout the country. We are thrilled that the Minister and the Government of Quebec have elected to implement the program. At the same time, it is also imperative that the standard of care in the treatment of the disease be provided to ensure that the lives of those already touched by the disease are prolonged and that their quality of life is maintained," Stein added.

The CCAC has been calling for all provinces to implement colorectal cancer screening programs since 2005. Since that time all provinces have become members of the National Colorectal Cancer Screening Network and have committed to bringing in a colorectal cancer screening program.

The screening program will ultimately be integrated with a global policy to combat colorectal cancer, which will include a primary prevention component designed to promote healthy lifestyles associated with lowering the risk of the disease. The CCAC advocates for an integrated approach which entails primary prevention including smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, a healthy diet and regular exercise to prevent the disease and its recurrence.

Notes to Editors

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, this year an estimated 22,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and sadly 9,100 individuals will die of 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 27 men and one in 31 women will die from it.

    -   In Quebec 5,900 new colorectal cancer cases (3,300 men - 2,600 women)
        and 2,500 colorectal cancer deaths (1,350 men - 1,150 women) are
        estimated to occur in 2010.

About the CCAC

The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is the country's leading non-profit association dedicated to increasing awareness and education of colorectal cancer, supporting patients, and advocating for primary prevention, provincial screening programs as well as equal and timely access to effective treatments to improve patient outcomes.

SOURCE Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada

For further information: For further information: or to schedule an interview with the CCAC please contact: Barry D. Stein, Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, Tel.: 1-877-50-COLON (26566) or (514) 875-7745, Cell: (514) 944-0200, E-mail:

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