Soon some of the residents in the Southeast Saskatchewan will receive potentially lifesaving news in the mail as the colorectal screening program expands to the Sun Country Health Region. The early detection program will be offered to men and women between the ages of 50 and 74.
“Using a simple test, we will be able to reduce the number of people who will need invasive cancer treatment and make a difference in the lives of patients and families in the region,” said SCHR interim CEO Marga Cugnet in a news release.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health is providing $190,000 annually to help the region plan, implement the program, and then later expand the program. The entire screening program cost is estimated at around $3.5 million annually once it is available across the entire province.
Saskatchewan Cancer Agency CEO, Scott Livingstone, says the program is already showing fantastic results.
“Today, more than 196 people don’t have cancer because they took the simple test and had pre-cancerous polyps removed during a colonoscopy and that tells me that the program is doing exactly what it was intended to do – save lives by detecting cancer in its early stages,” Livingstone said in a news release.
According to the Ministry, throughout the year, individuals are selected based on their birth month and year. This year, anyone born in an even year such as 1954 will receive a letter inviting you to participate in the program.
A brochure will be sent out explaining the program. Then three to four weeks after that you will receive your screening kit with complete instructions. It comes complete with a postage paid envelope so you can either mail your sample back to the lab or drop it off.
The stool sample will be sent on to the Saskatchewan Disease Control Lab where it will be analyzed for blood not visible to the naked eye. The information then entered into the cancer agency’s information system and participants along with their family doctor will be sent a letter with the results. If you have abnormal results and no family doctor the program is designed to help you connect with a physician.
As of this month, more than 80,000 people have been invited to participate in the screening program in Qu’Appelle, Kelsey Trail, Five Hills, Prairie North, Regina, Heartland, Cypress, and the northern health regions of Keewatin Yatthe, Athabasca, and Mamawetan Churchill River.
By 2013, it is hope the program will have expanded into the remaining three health regions – Saskatoon, Sunrise, and Prince Albert Parkland.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women, and it is the second-most-commonly diagnosed cancer. In 2010, just under 700 men and women in Saskatchewan were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and an estimated 270 died from it.
For more information on colorectal cancer visit the
Saskatchewan Cancer Agency
Canadian Cancer Society