Fishing-themed colorectal screening campaign to 'reel in men' over 50
Less than half of eligible adults in northwestern Ontario have completed their home screening kit
"Get hooked on screening" is a theme of this year's colorectal cancer awareness campaign, run by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
The hospital has partnered with Cancer Care Ontario in an attempt to reel in men aged 50 and over to get screened.
The campaign ran a fishing-themed booth this past weekend at the Central Canada Outdoor show. The aim was to target men who might not otherwise get the information, said Alison Muir, a nurse who works with the Screen for Life Coach across northwestern Ontario.
"A lot of our demographic, a lot of the people that will be coming here, are here with their camo on and are here to look for the fishing and hunting booths so we are trying to pull people in," said Muir.
"Particularly the guys that are coming in ... we are giving them a little bit of education. We are actually giving out the FOBT [fecal occult blood test] kits to people who might need them."
This March local angler, journalist and CBC outdoor columnist Gord Ellis signed on to help increase awareness about the importance of screening, especially among men.
While colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women in Ontario, it's highly treatable.
Cancer Care Ontario recommends men and women between the ages of 50 and 74 take the home FOBT kit every two years.
"Colon cancer screening can be the difference between life and death, said Dr. Bill Harris, the regional colorectal screening and gastrointestinal endoscopy lead with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
"When caught early, nine out of every 10 people with colon cancer can be cured. In its later stages, the outcomes are much worse. That's why it's so important to get screened every two years."
Harris said in the northwest region, only 46.4 per cent of eligible adults have completed their FOBT kits.
"We need to encourage men and women to get their kits from their healthcare providers, or TeleHealth Ontario and then complete them," he said.
Colon Cancer Awareness month runs through March.
More information is available at ColonCancerCheck.ca.