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Hitting the Road to Improve Cancer Screening Rates
Cancer Care Ontario’s Screen for Life Coaches shift into gear
Posted on 2013/06/26

Cancer Care Ontario is driving access to cancer screening – literally – with the introduction of two new Screen for Life coaches for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening. 

On the road in the next few weeks, the new Screen for Life coaches are capable of travelling to different communities in northern Ontario and the Hamilton-area, bringing much needed services closer to home for women who face barriers to screening.

Breast and colorectal screening services will be accessible to women between the ages of 50 and 74, and cervical cancer screening services will be available to women between the ages of 50 and 70.

The coaches are about the size of a Greyhound bus and are outfitted with state-of-the-art digital mammography equipment, as well as trained medical staff members that are able to perform Pap tests.  The coaches will also be handing out Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) kits, the at-home test for colorectal cancer screening.

The Northern Ontario coach will travel to remote areas, replacing a previous mobile screening service that has been offering mammography in the communities since 1992. It is operated by the Northwestern Regional Cancer Program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. The Hamilton-area coach is new to the community and will serve three priority areas, focusing on women who have cultural or social barriers that prohibit them from discussing or participating in screening initiatives with their primary care providers. It is operated by the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Cancer Program at Hamilton Health Sciences.

“It’s extremely important to think outside of the box when it comes to healthcare services in Ontario. The diverse population and remote areas mean that not everyone is accessing cancer screening services in the same way,” says Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “I’m happy to see that Cancer Care Ontario has found a way to bring these services to communities that need them.”

“Regular cancer screening can detect cancer at an early stage before symptoms develop, or detect changes that lead to cancer,” says Michael Sherar, president and CEO for Cancer Care Ontario. “This is why we are reaching out to women in their communities to ensure they have equal access to care.”

 “This is the first time cervical and colorectal cancer screening has been offered in a mobile screening coach in Ontario,” says Dr. Linda Rabeneck, Vice President, Prevention and Cancer Control, Cancer Care Ontario.  “I’m proud that we have found an innovative way to expand our program to reach more women who can benefit from cancer screening services.”


  • The Screen for Life coaches will offer mammograms and FOBT kits for women between the ages of 50 to 74. Pap tests are available to women between 50 and 70.
  • The coaches are approximately 45 feet long, and can serve two patients at one time.
  • Research shows that regularly screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer saves lives.

Cancer Care Ontario – an Ontario government agency – drives quality and continuous improvement in disease prevention and screening, the delivery of care and the patient experience, for cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care for key health services. Known for its innovation and results-driven approaches, CCO leads multi-year system planning, contracts for services with hospitals and providers, develops and deploys information systems, establishes guidelines and standards and tracks performance targets to ensure system-wide improvements in cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care.

Media contact:
Tori Gass, Senior Public Relations Advisor
Phone: 1-855-460-2646

Last modified: Wed, Jun 26, 2013
cancer care ontario | action cancer ontario   620 University Avenue Toronto Ontario, Canada M5G 2L7   Phone: 416.971.9800 Fax: 416.971.6888

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