WFHT Provided Programs & Services

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in Canada. In 2001, the Wawa Family Health Team began a Colonoscopy Screening Program to help screen for colorectal cancer (CRC). The goal of the screening program is to detect cancer in those people who do not have any symptoms of the disease. Screening for CRC has been shown to reduce the number of deaths from the disease. Colonoscopy may even reduce the incidence of CRC by removing pre-cancerous polyps and preventing the cancer from occurring in the first place.

Since 2001, 929 screening colonoscopies have been performed at Lady Dunn Health Centre. Patients between the ages of 50-75 and those at high risk of CRC because of family history were screened. The average age of screened patients was 57. In 10 years of screening, cancers were detected in 9 patients, meaning that approximately 1 in 100 people without any symptoms will be diagnosed with CRC based on a screening colonoscopy. Adenomatous polyps were found and removed in 239 patients (25.7% of screening colonoscopies). These types of polyps have the potential to turn into cancer, so removing them during colonoscopy prevents the development of future CRC.

The Colonoscopy Screening Program is safe and effective, with zero major complications and standards similar to other screening programs. By participating in colonoscopy screening, you can reduce the risk of developing CRC by removing polyps and reduce mortality from the disease through early identification and treatment. You can also help reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise to maintain a healthy body weight. Avoiding smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can also help lower your risk.

The Wawa Family Health Team would like to congratulate the community for their participation in the screening program and wishes continued success for colonoscopy screening to help reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer in Wawa!

If you are over the age of 50 or have a brother, sister or parent with a history of colorectal cancer or polyps, talk to your health care provider about your screening options. Call the Family Health Team at 705- 856-1313 to make an appointment.

References:
Canadian Cancer Society’s Steering Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2011. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2011.
Winawer SJ, Zauber AG, Ho MN, O’Brien MJ, Gottlieb LS, Sternberg SS, et al. Prevention of colorectal cancer by colonoscopic polypectomy. The National Polyp Study Workgroup. New England Journal of Medicine 1993;329:1977-81.
Cotterill M, Gasparelli R, Kirby E. Colorectal cancer detection in a rural community. Canadian Family Physician. 2005;51:1224-1228.

Links:
Colorectal cancer association of Canada
Canadian Cancer Society