More Screenings Urged As Part of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

The Regional Primary Care Lead for the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integration Network Regional Cancer Program is stressing the need for more people to be screened to prevent and treat the cancer.

Dr. Tamara Siddall says in Ontario, in our region, we're doing fairly well compared to the other regions but it's still only around two-thirds of the population who are eligible who are getting screened. It leaves 30-40% of the population who feel good but something could be lurking.

Siddall says it is extremely common but it is preventable and that's what they're focused on this month, to get the word out that there are things to decrease your risk.

Siddall says there is a simple test to screen for colorectal cancer for a person at average risk.

"The test is a stool test that's done in the privacy of their own home," she says. "It's easy, it's convenient, it's free and it's very accurate at identifying patients that may be at risk of having the disease while also telling those patients not to worry, they've screened negative."

It is recommended people wait until they are 50 years old to be screened for colorectal cancer.

"The majority of colorectal cancers, like close to 90%, are diagnosed in people over the age of 50," she says.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for men and third leading cause of death for women.

--With files from AM800's Patty Handysides