In support of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, ColonCancerCheck (CCC) and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) have teamed up to urge Ontarians to get screened for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death and the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Ontario.
In 2011, an estimated 8,100 people in the province were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and approximately 3,250 people died from the disease.
“I’m thrilled to have partners like the OHL and Cancer Care Ontario who are committed to keeping Ontarians healthy,” says Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month encourages more people to get screened and helps to raise awareness about the importance of early cancer detection.”
ColonCancerCheck, Ontario’s colorectal cancer screening program, recommends that all Ontarians aged 50 to 74 years be screened for colorectal cancer. Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of colorectal cancer, but screening can detect colorectal cancer early, when treatment is most effective. For those at average risk for colorectal cancer, a simple at home test – the Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) – is recommended once every two years.
“A Fecal Occult Blood Test is a simple, non-invasive test that is available for free and done at home,” says Dr. Linda Rabeneck, Vice President of Prevention and Cancer Control, Cancer Care Ontario. “Studies show that when this screening test is performed every two years for individuals aged 50 to 74 years, and followed up with a colonoscopy for those with an abnormal test, it will reduce death from colorectal cancer by 16 percent over a decade. Colorectal cancer screening can be the difference between life and death.”
The FOBT is the most widely available test for screening for colorectal cancer. Ontarians are encouraged to call their physicians or nurse practitioners today to obtain an FOBT kit. Those without a family physician or nurse practitioner can pick up a FOBT kit from a local pharmacy or by calling Telehealth at 1-866-828-9213.
For those at increased risk because of a family history (a parent, sibling or child with a diagnosis of colorectal cancer), colonoscopy is advised beginning at age 50, or 10 years earlier than the age at which their relative was diagnosed, whichever is earlier.
“Getting checked and screened on the ice can be a nuisance but when it comes to cancer it can save your life,” says David Branch, Ontario Hockey League Commissioner. “The OHL is proud to support this important cause and we urge all of our supporters who are eligible to get screened through ColonCancerCheck to do so.”
All OHL teams will host events at home games in March. OHL teams will feature the ColonCancerCheck patch, there will be colorectal cancer screening materials available, and all team arena boards will display colorectal cancer screening messaging.
For more information on cancer screening and the right time to get screened, Ontarians can visit ontario.ca/screenforlife and complete the “Time to Screen” tool.
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the largest development league in the world. 20 of the CHL’s 59 teams play in the OHL with 17 teams across Ontario, two teams in Michigan, and one in Pennsylvania. Last season more than three million fans attended OHL regular season and playoff games, while over 80% of all games were broadcast live on television across the province. The OHL is a leading supplier of talent to both the National Hockey League and Canadian Interuniversity Sport by offering players the best of both worlds when it comes to hockey and academic goals. Last season 46 players were selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft including 11 first round picks, while the OHL awarded 219 academic scholarships to graduate players including 155 to players competing in CIS hockey programs.
Cancer Care Ontario – an Ontario government agency – drives quality and continuous improvement in disease prevention and screening, the delivery of care and the patient experience, for cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care for key health services. Known for its innovation and results-driven approaches, CCO leads multi-year system planning, contracts for services with hospitals and providers, develops and deploys information systems, establishes guidelines and standards and tracks performance targets to ensure system-wide improvements in cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care.
Ontario Hockey League
Manager of Media and Information Services
Phone:416-299-8700, ext. 320