Canadian Health Officials Try to Destigmatize Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal tumor

Health officials in the City of Timmins, Canada, are planning to educate the population on colorectal cancer

This month is the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in the City of Timmins, Ontario, Canada. Mayor Steve Black teamed up with several health officials from the Timmins & District Hospital to inform people regarding this disease and eliminate the stigma around it.

On Friday afternoon, Black brought at the City Hall Sue McArthur, registered nurse at Timmins & District Hospital, who is also the coordinator of its flexible sigmoidoscopy program, and Carolyn Dean, nurse registered in the sigmoidoscopy department.

Dean explained that people should not be ashamed when it comes to their health. If they have a problem, they should go see a doctor immediately, even if they find that problem embarrassing. It is understandable why there is such a stigma regarding colorectal cancer, but this should not stop people from received the needed medical care.

Cancer screening is now taken care of by Cancer Care Ontario, so such a procedure is available any time. Thus, health officials are trying to convince people to get screenings regularly.

Starting at the end of February and up until last Thursday, there was an information booth on the hospital’s hall where people could get information about colorectal cancer and about the services provided by the sigmoidoscopy department.

McArthur said that their main purpose was to educate people about colorectal cancer and to promote their sigmoidoscopy program. She said that their hospital was the only one in Northern Ontario with such a program.

Initially, they launched it as a pilot program four years ago, but after a year it became a full-fledged initiative of Cancer Care Ontario. They have had good results so far and are hoping they will continue in the same way.

Colorectal cancer might sound like a scary scenario, but it is treatable if it is detected through early screening. Through flexible sigmoidoscopy, doctors might discover polyps growing on the inside of the colon.

These polyps need to be removed immediately, even if they are benign, since they might grow up to be malignant. If cancer is discovered at an early stage, the chances of death are reduced by 80 or 90 percent.

This program is most welcome since it eased the process of getting a screening. Before, people had to wait until a surgeon or gastroenterologist was able to perform the procedure, but now it is more accessible.

The officials at Timmins & District Hospital advise all people between 50 and 74 to get preventive screenings every year, as they might save their lives.
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