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More Ontarians encouraged to get screened for cancer
Time to Screen initiative calls on 100,000 additional people to be screened for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer
Posted on 2012/11/06

Cancer Care Ontario is pleased to launch “Time to Screen,” a call to action for at least 100,000 additional residents to screen for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer over the next six months.

“Time to Screen” also encourages Ontarians to have open conversations with their family and friends about getting screened, as cancer screening will help save countless lives by enabling earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Included in the initiative are creative e-cards about cancer screening for Ontarians to share with their loved ones. Residents are also encouraged to talk to their healthcare provider about being screened or visit the Time to Screen tool to find out the right time to be screened. 

“Time to Screen” specifically encourages average risk men and women 50 to 74 years of age to screen for colorectal cancer every two years using the fecal occult blood test, average risk women 50 to 74 years of age to screen for breast cancer every two years with mammography and women 21 to 70 years to screen for cervical cancer every three years with a Pap test. Women 30 to 69 years of age who have been identified as being at high risk for breast cancer should have a screening mammogram and MRI every year.

“There is strong evidence that screening for colorectal, breast and cervical cancers can reduce mortality,” said Dr. Linda Rabeneck, Vice President, Prevention and Cancer Control, Cancer Care Ontario. “That’s why we have launched this call to action to encourage all Ontarians to get screened regularly.”

At a recent event at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews spoke about the importance of cancer screening and announced the upcoming ‘Ask an Expert’ event on Nov. 19, at 7 p.m.  To help Ontarians learn more about cancer, this online live web cast invites people to submit their questions in advance at . Questions will be answered at the event by a panel of cancer screening experts.

“Screening plays an incredibly important role in early detection and prevention,” said Minister Matthews. “And our government is committed to providing the knowledge, tools and other supports to help you understand when it is the right time to start screening .”

Cancer screening sees what you can’t and is proven to save lives by detecting pre-cancerous changes or cancer at an early stage. Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable with regular Pap tests, appropriate and timely follow-up and HPV immunization. When caught early, there is a 90 per cent chance that people with colorectal cancer will be cured. And between 1990 and 2008, breast cancer death rates for Ontario women decreased by 37 per cent, which may be the result of better treatments and increased screening with mammography and a recent decline in breast cancer incidence.

While recent data show the percentage of people screening in Ontario for breast cancer is 67 per cent and cervical cancer is 72 per cent, screening for colorectal cancer with a fecal occult blood test is significantly lower at 27 per cent. “Time to Screen” aims to increase screening rates for all three types of cancer by one per cent, which is an overall increase of 100,000 additional Ontarians getting screened.

“Increasing screening rates is a top priority for the Canadian Cancer Society and a key element in our fight against cancer,” says John Atkinson, Senior Manager, Prevention, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. “That’s why we’re urging men and women to get screened and pass on this life-saving message to friends and family.”

Recently, cervical cancer screening guidelines were updated outlining the right age for women to screen and the time interval between tests. In Ontario, cervical cancer screening is now recommended starting at age 21 and every three years until age 70 for all women who are or ever have been sexually active; screening is not recommended for women under the age of 21.

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, Cancer Care Ontario 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:
Cancer Care Ontario
Adam Segal, Senior Public Relations Advisor
Phone: 1-855-460-2646

Last modified: Tue, Nov 06, 2012
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