With March having been Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and the Nelson Medicine Professional Corp. and Fort Frances Community Clinic are encouraging you to get screened!
Men and women aged 50-74, who have no first-degree family history (i.e., parent, sibling, or child) of colon cancer, should complete a Colon Cancer Check fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every two years.
The FOBT is a simple and painless cancer-screening kit that you can do yourself in the privacy of your own home.
However, between April, 2015 and November, 2016, roughly 626 FOBT kits in the northwest were rejected for varying reasons, with the top reasons being incorrect labelling, expired specimen, or using an expired card.
When a kit is rejected, for varying reasons, you must complete it all over again.
Why is completing the kit correctly important? If caught early through regular cancer screening, there is a 90 percent chance that colon cancer can be cured.
In addition to the instructions you are provided with to complete the kit, here are 10 tips to help you do so successfully:
- FOBT kits have expiry dates located on the back of the card. Complete your kit in advance of this date.
- Avoid citrus fruits and juices, and vitamin C supplements, three days before the test and during the collection period.
- Collect three samples on three different days, and do it within a 10-day time period from start to finish.
- Using saran wrap is great strategy to catch your stool and makes for an easy clean-up.
- Keep the stool smears on the card very thin.
- Take two samples from two different areas of the stool when you collect your sample).
- Make sure you label all of the spots on the card using a ballpoint pen, including your first, middle, and last name on the back of the card, date of birth on the back of the card, and date and time of collection for each of the three samples on the front of the card.
- Check that the requisition form (which was given to you with the kit) is filled out correctly with your information.
- Once you have completed your sample collection, put the kit in the foil-lined envelope and then enclose the kit and requisition form in the mailing envelope.
- Mail your kit no later than 10 days after completing the first collection!
If you don't have a kit yet but need one, talk to your health-care provider.
During the month of March, rostered and non-rostered patients of the Nelson Medicine Professionals Corp. and Fort Frances Community Clinic can book an appointment to get their FOBT kit by calling 274-3287.
Other options for receiving a FOBT kit are to call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-828-9213 or by making an appointment on the Screen for Life Coach (when it travels to Emo, Rainy River, or Nestor Falls) by calling 1-807-684-7777 or 1-800-461-7031.
For more information about colon cancer screening, visit www.tbrhsc.net/cancerscreening
Have you been screened for colon cancer yet?