Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers to affect both men and women in B.C. and is the second leading cause of cancer death in Canada. However, screening can prevent colon cancer and detect it early. When detected at its earliest stage, the chance of survival is over 90 per cent.
In B.C., individuals aged 50-74 with no symptoms should speak with their doctor about the fecal immunochemical test (FIT). Ray did. It saved his life. The safe, free, and easy-to-use screening test helped catch his colon cancer early. The husband and father of 3 is now a cancer survivor.
“There’s nothing to it,” says Ray. “I was a little reluctant at first but I’m very grateful that I took the test. It’s a small price to pay to live a happy and healthy life.”
Because his cancer was caught early, he did not require chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Surgery removed the cancer after a colonoscopy confirmed a cancerous growth smaller than the tip of his finger.
“I spoke with a woman named Crystal who worked at Island Health. I will never forget her. She convinced me to do the colonoscopy because I wasn’t going to go. I knew what a colonoscopy entailed and I didn’t want a camera inside of me. But she explained that because I was over 50, it would be a really good idea to get a baseline done to make sure that everything is ok. She told me about her husband and how he recently had a colonoscopy and a bunch of polyps removed. I was convinced, and I decided to go through with it.”
Now that Ray is cancer-free, he continues to live life to the fullest. He enjoys travel and spending time with his daughters, granddaughter, wife and two dogs.
Hindsight is 20/20. Talk to your health care provider today about colon cancer screening or visit ScreeningBC.ca/colon
for more information.
Anyone experiencing changes in their colon health should see their health care provider right away.
- Men and women ages 50-74 with no family history should take a FIT test every two years.
- Men and women ages 50-47 with a significant family history (first degree relative or two or more relatives) or personal history of adenomas should speak to their doctor about a colonoscopy.
- Colon cancer risk increases with age: 80 per cent of colon cancer cases are diagnosed in people over 50
- In Canada, one in eighteen women and one in fourteen men will develop colon cancer in their lifetimes – one in 35 people is expected to die from the disease
- In 2020, it is estimated 3,945 people in B.C. will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 1,345 will die from the disease
- In BC, approximately 35% of average risk individuals are overdue for re-screening (returning for average risk screening after 30 months)