Regular Screening for Breast, Cervical and Colorectal Cancers Can Save Lives
PORT HOPE, ON (November 22, 2021) - Regular screening greatly boosts the odds of survival, an important consideration when the Canadian Cancer Society estimates two in five people can expect to develop cancer in their lifetime.
Local residents are being reminded about Ontario’s free screening programs for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers. Taking advantage of these screening services through Cancer Care Ontario can make a make a life-and-death difference, according to Karen Taylor, a Public Health Nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. Details on Cancer Care Ontario programs, screening tools and clinic locations can be found at: www.cancercareontario.ca.
“Early stages of cancer can be difficult to see or feel,” Taylor says. “Regular cancer screening can detect potential problems at a critical point in time, allowing for early treatment and interventions.”
Studies show regular screening greatly improves the survival rates for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers:
- Breast cancer is the most commonly-diagnosed cancer in Ontario women, and early detection means the vast majority of women can make a full recovery after treatment. The Ontario Breast Cancer Screening Program recommends women ages 50-74 years get screened every two years, but a woman’s age and family medical history will help determine when screening should occur.
- Cancer Care Ontario recommendswomen 21 years of age and older who are or have been sexually active should get Pap tests every three years to screen for cervical cancer. Women 70 years old and older can stop having Pap tests if they have had three or more normal test results in the past 10 years. With the main cause of cervical cancer being the human papillomavirus (HPV), vaccination against HPV is strongly recommended and currently available for all Grade 7 students in the province.
- Although colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ontario, if caught early, nine out of 10 people with the disease can be cured. The Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is a screening test available for people at average risk of getting colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum).
There are more than 200 types of cancer. Possible causes can include genetics, lifestyle choices, certain types of infection, environmental causes or a combination of these factors. Taylor encourages people to also check with their health care provider to see when and what type of cancer screening test is best, based on an individual’s age and family history.