Health Sciences North is encouraging Sudburians to be screened for cancer this winter.

“Cancer mortality rates for colorectal, breast and cervical cancers have been declining over the years thanks in part to an increase in screening but we still have a long way to go,” said Mark Hartman, the hospital’s vice president of Cancer Services and Medical Imaging.

“We know that cancer screening can save lives and that’s why it’s important that men and women talk to their healthcare provider about getting checked.”

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Canada, and colorectal, breast and cervical cancers account for 30 per cent of new cases.

However, Hartman said cancer mortality rates for breast and cervical cancers have declined in the past few years, as early screening has become more popular.

Hartman also noted cancer survival rates are much higher when the diagnosis is made before a person becomes symptomatic.

Cancer screenings at the hospital are free of charge.

This month also marks a new push by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to get more people screened between the ages of 50 to 74.

“It’s extremely important that people take advantage of the screening programs available in Ontario,” said Dr. Linda Rabeneck, vice president, Prevention and Cancer Control, for Cancer Care Ontario.

“Screening tests, such as the Fecal Occult Blood test, mammography and Pap tests are free of charge and can detect cancer before any physical symptoms show up, when cancer is most treatable.