Colorectal screening saves lives

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Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer, second only to lung cancer. This silent but deadly disease leaves everyone touched by it wondering how, if colorectal cancer is up to 90% preventable with timely and thorough screening, 20,000 Canadians were diagnosed and 8,500 died from colorectal cancer in 2006.

With pressure from groups like the Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative Foundation (CCSIF), a national non-profit foundation committed to raising awareness and promoting screening for colorectal cancer, the federal government and many provincial jurisdictions are making early detection a priority. In January, Ontario became the first province to implement currently available techniques at a population-based level in order to reduce mortality.

Screening, while not a cure in and of itself, is a crucial tool in mortality reduction.

Since September 2000, CCSIF has used levity and humour to drive its message. The award-winning “blushing bottom”; slogans that included “Don’t Die of Embarrassment” and “There’s more than one thing that’s Silent but Deadly” and, most recently, the “Smart*Ass” campaign are among the most recognizable. The first radio PSA’s were recorded by NHL Legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler, his wife Wendy, along with referee Paul Stewart. Sadly, Darryl’s wife Wendy lost her battle with crc four years after her diagnosis in 1998.

The Darryl Sittler/PENTAX Smart*Ass Golf Tournament brings together some of CCSIF’s most ardent and long-time supporters. “The partnership was a natural extension of Pentax Canada’s commitment to gastroenterology, the perfect fit given our mutual commitment to screening. ÊUltimately, we make the connections and bonds that we do because of people and in this case it’s the passion within the people that strikes a chord,” Don Montgomery, V-P Pentax.

Taking place on Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 at ClubLink’s Greystone Golf Club in Milton, the tournament will raise much needed funds for CCSIF so that they can continue to inform Canadians about the benefits of colorectal cancer screening.

With increased screening awareness from first-line health workers to the general public, lives can be saved. “The reality is, we all have a bottom. Any one of us can get colorectal cancer. Be a Smart Ass, be proactive and put your bottom at the top of your priority list. It could save your life,” Darryl Sittler.

“There are many cancers that we can’t screen for and for those that we can, the best we can do is obtain an early diagnosis. With colorectal cancer, timely and thorough screening provides the opportunity to prevent the disease altogether,” Christie Black, Chair of CCSIF.

While the cause of cancer remains elusive; advancements in imaging provide previously unheard of capabilities, meaning that the ability to diagnose early and prevent cancer is evolving.