It’s the start of a New Year, and a new decade, and New Year’s resolutions have been made. We make promises to ourselves to eat better, get more exercise, and reduce our waste. A New Year’s resolution is a goal to improve your life for the coming year, and while the intentions are always in the right place, less than 33% of people stick with their resolution after six months. Here is one resolution that is easy to complete: get screened for cancer!
Cancer screening can find certain types of cancer before there are any symptoms. For example, it can detect pre-cancerous cell changes or early stages of cancer. Detecting cancer early means that there is an even better chance of treating it successfully. It’s important to stay up-to-date with your screening, even if you are living a healthy lifestyle and feel fine.
There are three organized cancer screening programs in Ontario;
Breast cancer screening:
Average risk: for women aged 50 to 74 years. These women should complete a breast cancer screening mammogram every two years.
High Risk Ontario Breast Screening Program (High Risk OBSP): for women aged 30 to 69 who are confirmed by a health care provider to be “high risk”. These women get screened once per year with both a mammogram and a breast MRI or breast ultrasound.
Cervical cancer screening:
Anyone with a cervix aged 21 to 69, who has ever been sexually active, should complete a Pap test every three years. It’s important to get screened, even if you feel healthy with no symptoms, are no longer sexually active, have only had one partner, are in a same-sex relationship, have been through menopause, or have had the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Colon cancer screening:
Average risk: for anyone aged 50 to 74 with no first-degree family history of colon cancer. They should complete a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every two years. This is completed at home, and involves taking a stool sample and sending it to a lab where it will be examined for microscopic bits of blood. This can be an early indication of polyps or cancer in the colon.
High risk [for individuals with a first-degree family history (parent, sibling or child with colon cancer)]: should speak to a health care provider about going for a colonoscopy at age 50 or ten years prior to your family member’s age at diagnosis.
“People may experience apprehension about getting screened. If someone hasn’t done a screening test in the past they may be nervous about what the test involves. If you have questions or concerns about screening tests, your health care provider can provide more information. Mammograms and Pap tests are completed in less than 15 minutes, and the FIT kit can be completed in the comfort of your own home,” says Regional Primary Care Lead, Dr. Nicole Zavagnin.
Only 60% of people in our region are up-to-date with their cancer screening. If you are within the age groups of any or all of the specific screening tests, make it your 2020 goal to get screened for cancer. Like other resolutions or intentions, it starts by you writing down your goal to get screened. Follow these simple steps to ensure that you get screened:
Write down the phone number you need to call to get screened:
Breast Cancer Screening:
Cervical Cancer Screening:
Colon Cancer Screening:
To learn more about cancer screening, visit www.tbrhsc.net/cancerscreening