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Why should you share our vision that "No One Dies of Colon Cancer"? In short, because a life lived free of colon cancer is better than aggressive treatment or death. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in Canada, the second most common cause of cancer-death in men and the third most common cause of cancer-death in women. 25,100 Canadians get colon cancer each year and 9,300 of us die of it each year (2015 statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society).
All people age 50 and older should be screened. Which test is right for you? Read on.
The FOBT is the "three-stool-samples-sent-away-in-the-mail" test. Many family doctors ask patients to do this test at the age of 50 and repeat it every two years. It is 40% to 60% accurate when done each year. This means that if 10 people had colon cancer, this test would show positive in 4 to 6 of the 10. The others would have cancer but it would not be detected. The American College of Surgeons Colonoscopy Patient Education Brochure gives more detail. This test is good for people not willing or able to have a colonsoscopy and who are willing to accept the high rate of missed cancers.
The Ontario Association of Gastroenterology (OAG) believes that “Colonoscopy is probably the best colon cancer screening test", and that "colonoscopy likely will save more lives than the other types of tests available". To quote the OAG Response to Task Force Recommendations on Colon Cancer Screening":
“As gastroenterologists, we would rather prevent cancer by finding polyps,” says Gould. Polyps are growths on the lining of the bowel that can eventually deteriorate into cancer. Polyps are found up to 40% of the time and precancerous adenomatous polyps up to 35% of the time. Studies have shown that more than 50% of those high risk polyps are out of the reach of the sigmoidoscope and are unlikely to be picked up by stool testing. Only colonoscopy will detect and remove polyps so that cancer does not develop in the first place. “FOBTs and sigmoidoscopies find some colon cancers, but certainly miss others, especially early ones. By finding and removing polyps, colonoscopy PREVENTS cancer from developing in the first place,” Murray says. (Read the Association's Full Response).
As a General Surgeon and Medical Director of this Clinic, Dr. Reimer believes that colonoscopy screening is the gold-standard for all people age 50 and over. "With ongoing cuts to health care funding, there is enormous pressure on family doctors to incentivize patients into the FOBT, but that should be done only after a full consent discussion that includes the miss rate -- FOBT misses more cancers and high-risk polyps than it finds. Colonoscopy is and remains the best test to prevent colon cancer" says Dr. Reimer. "It is up to each patient to educate themselves and to make an informed decision to prolong their own life".
See a video tour of our Ottawa facility courtesy of CTV News, Ottawa. Here is a photo tour of the facility:
For a photo tour of our Kitchener facility see the About Us page.