Take Charge of your Health: Cancer Screening and Prevention
by Amanda Walberg
Are you or one of your loved ones between the ages of 50 and 74? Do you know about the new take-home kit for colon cancer screening?
To promote healthy living, every month Prevention and Screening Services hosts a Healthy Get-Together speaker series at Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre. These monthly sessions feature experts from our Hospital and community who share information and knowledge on subjects related, but not limited, to chronic disease prevention.
This month, Dr. Nicole Zavagnin, local family physician, will share her knowledge and information about colon cancer, the new colon cancer screening Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) and other cancer prevention methods. Dr. Zavagnin has a background in immunology and genetics. Her passion for wellness and disease prevention led her to her role as the Regional Primary Care Lead with Cancer Care Ontario for the Northwest LHIN.
This past June, Ontario introduced a new colon cancer screening test, the FIT kit, that is designed to be more efficient and accurate. Unlike the previous FOBT (Fecal Occult Blood Test) colon cancer screening test, the new FIT kit requires one sample and no prior dietary restrictions. This makes it a much more efficient and user-friendly kit. This test is also more accurate for blood detection in your stool sample.
“The FIT kit has the ability to detect large polyps before they have become cancerous in addition to early stage colon cancers,” explained Dr. Zavagnin. Being screened for cancer allows experts to find cancer at an earlier stage, when it is less likely to have spread and is potentially easier to treat. The eligibility for colon cancer screening is between the ages of 50 to 74 with no first-degree family history (i.e. parents, siblings, and children).
Did you know 40% of people in Northwestern Ontario aren’t being screened for cancer? “Talk to your primary health care provider or visit the Screen for Life Coach to gain more information about colon cancer screening and other cancers as well. It is important to have a discussion about cancer with your primary care provider, especially as you age,” said Dr. Zavagnin. More ways to stay on top of your health include: eating healthy, avoiding tobacco use and maintaining a healthy weight.
To hear more about cancer screening and prevention, attend the Healthy Get-Together session, ‘Take Charge of Your Health: Cancer Screening and Prevention’ featuring Dr. Zavagnin, along with Kelly-Jo Gillis, Manager of Preventive Health Services. This presentation takes place on Thursday, October 24th from 7:00-7:45 pm in ICP Main Meeting Room (Rm #2178) at our Hospital. Space is limited. Call (807) 684-7237 to reserve your spot.