Bruce Macfarlane, communications, Department of Health, 506-444-4583.
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Cancer screening for cervical and colon cancers are improving through two new population-based programs.
The Colon Cancer Screening Program and the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Screening Program will improve screening by providing a mechanism to invite eligible New Brunswickers for screening.
“Cancer screening leads to earlier detection and improved survival rates,” said Dr. Eshwar Kumar, co-chief executive officer of the New Brunswick Cancer Network. "For almost 20 years, New Brunswick has been providing a successful breast cancer screening program. The addition of a co-ordinated provincial screening program for colon and cervical cancer will contribute to more successful outcomes for patients."
In New Brunswick, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of all cancer deaths. Cervical cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer for women aged 20-49 in Canada.
“Cancer screening saves lives which is why I encourage all New Brunswickers who are invited to the colon and cervical cancer screening programs to participate,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “Our government is committed to a leading-edge health system. By improving cancer screening we will see earlier detection and improved survival rates.”
The screening processes for each cancer are as follows:
- Colon: Average-risk New Brunswickers, meaning those with no family or personal colon cancer history, between the ages of 50 and 74 will be invited to participate in the program. Individuals will receive a questionnaire which will be reviewed by the New Brunswick Cancer Network to determine whether the individual should be screened by using an at-home test. The colon program will begin in health zone two (Saint John area) and will be available throughout the province within the next two years.
- Cervical: Women aged 21 to 69 who have never had a Pap test, have not had a Pap test in the last three years or who are over-due for recommended follow-up testing will be sent letters encouraging them to make an appointment with their primary health-care provider. Women who have never had a Pap test will begin receiving invitations in December.
“Evidence shows that the detection rate of these cancers is greatly improved by population-based screening and New Brunswickers are encouraged to participate. Whether it’s having a mammogram, a Pap test or sending in a stool sample, these are screening tests that take only a few minutes and can save your life,” said Dr. Rejean Savoie, co-chief executive officer of the network. “It is critically important that New Brunswickers take the time to be screened for these cancers which can be largely preventable and curable when detected early.”
More information about cancer prevention and screening can be found on the Department of Health website.