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Program detects early signs of cancer

Screening aimed at 50- to 74-year-olds

A BC Cancer Agency program that helps detect the early warning signs of colon cancer is entering its third year in the Powell River area.

The program, termed Colon Check, promotes screening every two years for men and women, ages 50 to 74, who do not currently have any symptoms of colon cancer. The screening identifies cancer at its earliest stage or prevents it from occurring by detection and removal of precancerous growths (polyps). When precancerous polyps are found and removed, they can’t develop into cancer.

“It is important to be checked because colon cancer and polyps often do not show symptoms,” said Dr. Jennifer Telford, medical director of the Colon Check program.

Colon Check launched in three BC communities in 2009. Since that time, over 3,100 Powell River residents have been screened. Of those screened, 86 participants had significant pre-cancerous lesions removed and 12 had cancers detected.

At the two-year anniversary of their initial screening, participants will begin receiving screening reminders in the mail. These individuals should call Colon Check at 1.877.702.6566 to order their home screening kit. Individuals between 50 and 74 years of age who have not yet participated in Colon Check are encouraged to register.

“Colon cancer is a highly treatable and preventable disease if caught early, thus screening is recommended every two years for all 50- to 74-year-olds,” said Telford.

For more information on Colon Check, interested readers can visit the program's website or call 1.877.702.6566.