Kitchener-Waterloo

Build a butt contest aims to boost colorectal cancer screening

Officials with the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Centre say the recent outbreak of hepatitis C at a private Kitchener colonoscopy clinic should not discourage anyone from getting screened for colorectal cancer.
41.7 per cent of adults in Waterloo Region and Wellington County aged 50 to 74 have not been screened for colorectal cancer. (Canadian Press)

Officials with the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Centre say the recent outbreak of hepatitis C at a private Kitchener colonoscopy clinic should not discourage anyone from getting screened for colorectal cancer. 

According to Dr. Rachael Halligan, the centre's primary care lead, there are already 41.7 per cent of adults in Waterloo Region and Wellington County aged 50 to 74 who have not been screened for the disease. 

"Some people are petrified of knowing whether they...are at higher risk and just would rather not know," she said. "Other people...just don't want to talk about that region of their body."

To encourage more people to get screened for colon cancer, the Cancer Centre is holding its second annual Build a Butt contest

Each resident who sends in a compelling story and a photo of a hand-made bum will be eligible to win one of three $500 gift cards.

The contest got underway Monday and runs until Mar. 19.

Halligan said staff at the Cancer Centre have been working hard to remove the stigma associated with colon cancer and screening for the disease. 

"It can't possibly get harder," she said. "We've been doing this for years and only 41.7 per cent of people are...still under-screened or never screened."

That said, Halligan emphasized that colon cancer screening poses no risk to the average individual, because most people are only required to take a fecal occult blood test, which can be done by the individual in his or her own home.

As for those who are at higher risk of developing colon cancer and are required to undergo a colonoscopy, Halligan said she always reminds patients that all invasive tests come with risks. 

"I would highly encourage anyone who is undergoing any medical procedure to make sure that any of their questions and concerns are answered."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story stated Dr. Rachael Halligan said staff at the Cancer Centre were "worried the recent outbreak of hepatitis C will needlessly frustrate their efforts." In fact, Halligan said, "Our job has been tough from the get go. So, It can't possibly get harder."
    Feb 06, 2015 12:48 PM ET

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