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I am delighted to see that CancerCare Manitoba has finally started a screening program for colorectal cancer. It is a start! However, there are a number of drawbacks. The limitation of the area in which the screening will be available does not create an equal field for all Manitobans. The specific age restriction does not address the problem of people who end up being diagnosed with colon cancer and are a lot younger than 50. For some, the comment has been that they are too young to get colon cancer, only to find out that they have it.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/02/2007 (5670 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

I am delighted to see that CancerCare Manitoba has finally started a screening program for colorectal cancer. It is a start! However, there are a number of drawbacks. The limitation of the area in which the screening will be available does not create an equal field for all Manitobans. The specific age restriction does not address the problem of people who end up being diagnosed with colon cancer and are a lot younger than 50. For some, the comment has been that they are too young to get colon cancer, only to find out that they have it.

The fact that the tests will be mailed directly to adults will mean that vast numbers of the tests will go unused because of the type of test they are. Rather, emphasis should have been put on educating the doctors to have these tests as part of the normal physical exam. Too often, doctors have misdiagnosed colorectal cancer as “bleeding hemorrhoids” and have not suggested the fecal occult blood test as a possibility to test for the blood in the patient’s stool.

The other concern is the wait to obtain a colonoscopy. Rather than having to wait a minimum of six months to have the test done in a hospital, I paid to have it done in the doctor’s office within three months. With the testing, more people will require this procedure and the health system needs to be ready.

Despite these shortcomings, it is nice to see the second leading cause of cancer deaths finally get a screening program. Breast cancer screening started in 1988 — it is time for colorectal cancer to catch up.

KAY ARNOT

Winnipeg

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