We all know someone whose life has been deeply impacted by cancer. Thunder Bay resident, Kevin Cleghorn, shares a connection to cancer with a strong family history of the disease. Cleghorn lost his grandparents and parents to various types of cancer, including prostate, lung and brain cancers.
Watching so many family members struggle with cancer made Cleghorn realize that he must be proactive about his health. “My family history of cancer means I need to be extra vigilant and continue to monitor and check for any health changes, including accessing the best cancer screening techniques available,” insists Cleghorn.
After Cleghorn turned 50, his health care provider encouraged him to be screened for colon cancer by using a take home test called a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) kit. The FOBT kit is a safe and painless cancer screening test that checks a person’s stool (poop) for small traces of blood, which can be caused by early stages of colon cancer. The test can be done in the comfort and privacy of a person’s home, only takes a few minutes to complete, and is free-of-charge to Ontarians. Cleghorn received his FOBT kit from the Screen for Life Coach, where a registered nurse is trained to provide FOBT kits to eligible men and women.
Men and women between 50 and 74 years of age with no family history of colon cancer are considered to be at average risk for getting colon cancer and should be screened every two years with the take-home, ‘do it yourself’ FOBT kit. If you do have a family history of colon cancer (i.e. a parent, sibling or child) that has been diagnosed with colon cancer, speak to your health care provider about getting screened with a colonoscopy.
“Even though I have a family history of many different types of cancers, I am at average risk when it comes to colon cancer. Because of this, my doctor encouraged me to complete the FOBT kit. The take-home kit itself is an easy and necessary screening test that has become an important feature of my ongoing health care,” says Cleghorn.
With March being Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, there isn’t a better time to be screened for colon cancer. In Ontario, colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in men. Despite this, many men are still not getting screened. Cleghorn urges eligible people to act. “You owe it to your loved ones and yourself to take advantage of tests like the FOBT kit, which allow for early detection and likely higher rates of full recovery. Do it now and do the things necessary to enjoy good health and happiness for years to come.”
To receive a FOBT kit to be screened for colon cancer, contact your health care provider, the Screen for Life Coach (1-807-684-7777 or 1-800-461-7031), or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-828-9213). For more information on colon cancer screening, visit www.tbrhsc.net/cancerscreening.