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Cancer Screening Saves Lives


Cancer Screening Saves Lives! Check it off your to-do list.

By Susan Larsh and Lorna Dobi, Health Promotion Specialists, Prevention and Screening, Cancer Care Ontario

In Ontario, there are three cancer screening programs plus ways to help prevent cancer that you should know about.

  1. ColonCancerCheck
    Colon cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer but when caught early enough there is a 90 per cent chance it can be cured. ColonCancerCheck encourages people 50 and older to get screened for colon cancer every two years. For people without a family history of colon cancer, the Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is recommended. It is a simple at-home test that is free from your health care provider. If you don’t have a health care provider, kits are also available from a pharmacist or by calling Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
    People with a family history (parent, sibling or child) of colon cancer are at higher risk and should have a colonoscopy at age 50 or earlier, depending on their family history.
  2. Ontario Breast Screening Program
    Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Studies have shown that for women aged 50-69, regular mammograms reduce deaths from breast cancer by up to one-third. The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) provides free organized screening services to Ontario women age 50 and over. If you are a woman with or without a health care provider you can be screened through the OBSP by calling toll-free 1-800-668-9304.
  3. Ontario Cervical Screening Program
    Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable with regular Pap tests and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. This means that, potentially, the next generations of women could live without the fear of developing cervical cancer. Regular Pap tests can find cell changes in the cervix before they become cancer. The Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends Pap testing for women who are or have ever been sexually active starting at age 21. If the tests are normal for three consecutive years, then you will need a Pap test every three years. Pap tests are performed by a health care provider.  If you are a woman who doesn’t have a health care provider contact your local public health unit, community health centre or sexual health clinic.

Cancer prevention

Nearly 50% of cancers can be prevented.
Together with regular cancer screening, taking these steps can help prevent cancer and other diseases:

Unfortunately in Canada, 40% Women and 45% Men will develop cancer during their lifetime.
This is a startling statistic, but you can do something about it. By getting screened and adopting a healthy lifestyle you can reduce your chances of developing or dying from cancer.

Take time for your health! Make an appointment with your health care provider and check cancer
screening off your to-do list.

To learn more about how to promote Cancer Screening and Prevention in your Workplace visit Cancer Care Ontario at to view the Promoting Cancer Screening and Prevention
in the Workplace Toolkit or click on the following link Cancer Care Ontario