Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) today launched Time to Screen, a call to action for at least 100,000 additional residents across Ontario to screen for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer over the next six months.
Time to Screen aims to get Ontarians to talk to 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 reminded 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 (FOBT), 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.
In the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN region, screening rates for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer are in line with the provincial average.
“There is strong evidence that screening for colorectal, breast and cervical cancers can reduce mortality,” said Dr. Michael Mills, Regional Primary Care lead for the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program. “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 ontario.ca/screenforlife. 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.”
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 percent chance that people with colorectal cancer will be cured.
- Between 1990 and 2008, breast cancer death rates for Ontario women decreased by 37 percent, 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 percent and cervical cancer is 72 percent, screening for colorectal cancer with FOBT is significantly lower at 27 percent. Time to Screen aims to increase screening rates for all three types of cancer by one percent by May 2013???, 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, 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.