In Canada, colorectal cancer (aside from non-melanoma skin cancer), is the second leading cause of Cancer-related death in men, and the third leading cause in women. It is preventable and treatable!
During 2003, health advocate, Jack Butt sought medical advice for a constant pain in his back, abdominal gas and stomach indigestion.
He didn’t have the usual symptoms associated with colorectal cancer; bloody stool, a change in bowel habits, abdominal discomfort, fatigue or weakness, unexplained weight loss or a feeling that the bowel didn’t completely empty.
After ruling out specifics, his physician suggested a colonoscopy which confirmed the suspicion of colon cancer.
Jack was fortunate, he persisted in finding out the cause of his discomfort and with a positive support system of family and friends he survived, because his colorectal cancer was caught early, with a colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy is a procedure using a colonoscope (four foot long flexible tube, about the size of a finger, with a camera and light at the tip). This instrument is inserted into the anus making its way to the large intestine, the colon. If polyps are detected, a pathologist will determine if these are benign or cancerous.
“We need to get over that embarrassment (talking about the colon),” said Jack. “Get checked, get screened. Since there has been a national screening program, the rate of deaths (due to colorectal cancer) has gone down, but they could be lower. If I had not had the colonoscopy, I’d be dead!”
Currently the guidelines for screening begin at around age 50, but if there’s a family history of cancer, the doctor may recommend earlier or more frequently.
For the 2017 Brockville and District Hospital Foundation’s Annual Appeal, the focus is on an alternative use to a colonoscope with new technology, a CT Colonography and associated Diagnostic Imaging support system that will assist in early detection of colorectal cancer.
What does this mean? Screening for colon cancer without using a camera and light, thereby reducing the risks to patients. Plus using an electronic worklist to improve communication and the work flow.
As Jack noted, the benefits are many – less wait times, no travel to a regional cancer centre, no travel cost and faster results.
“I think it’s important that we support this purchase,” expressed Jack.
The price of this new equipment is about $125,000; unparalleled to the price of saving a life!