March 2, 2006

Awareness can help prevent 162 Canadian deaths each week

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
NEWMARKET Each week, approximately 162 Canadians die as a result of colorectal cancer, making it the second leading cause of death from cancer in this country. Colorectal cancer can affect both men and women and the risk increases with age.  Some people are at greater risk for the disease depending on the following risk factors:
 Personal or family history of colorectal polyps, colorectal, ovarian, endometrial or breast cancer
 Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease)
 Men and women who use tobacco, drink alcohol to excess, are obese or lead a sedentary life
The good news is that over 95% of colorectal cancer cases can be prevented or successfully treated if detected early. What you can do to protect yourself:
 Get regular colorectal cancer screening tests beginning at age 50 (or earlier depending on your personal and family history)
 Drink alcohol in moderation (men, maximum 2 drinks per day and women, maximum 1 drink per day)
 Quit using tobacco products
 Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grain products
 Be physically active every day and maintain a healthy body weight
Be aware of possible signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer including:
 Rectal bleeding, blood in the stool or stools more narrow than usual
 Changes in bowel habits
 General stomach discomfort (bloating, fullness, frequent gas pains and/or cramps)
 Diarrhea, constipation or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
 Unexplained weight loss
 Constant fatigue
In the early stages there may not be any symptoms at all which is why screening plays such a vital role in prevention. If you are over the age of 50 or feel you are at risk, talk to your doctor about colorectal cancer screening.
For more information on colorectal cancer prevention or other health-related questions, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit
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For more information on the Regional Municipality of York and the services our Region offers, please visit our Web site at:
Media Contact Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
905-830-4444 Ext. 4016 or after-hours pager (905) 830-3302

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