Apr
4
2017

Cancer screening is important to prevention

April was official Proclaimed Daffodil Month by Minister of Health and Wellness Robert Henderson. The Proclamation was presented to members of the Canadian Cancer Society on the first day of the spring seating of the Prince Edward Island Legislature 2017.

Regular cancer screening is important to keeping Islanders healthy. 

Screening helps catch some cancers early when they are the most treatable, and almost half of all cancers can be prevented by eating well, being active, maintaining a healthy body weight, limiting alcohol use and UV ray exposure, and not smoking. Information on cancer screenings and programming on Prince Edward Island is available at Health PEI Cancer Care.

“Cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed chronic diseases in Prince Edward Island and across the nation, and as a government we are working to support Islanders living with, through, and beyond cancer,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson said. “During this Cancer Awareness Month, I want to encourage all Islanders to look for opportunities to take control of their own health and well-being – such as eating a bit healthier, participating in cancer screening programs, or calling the smokers help-line to make a change for the better.”

Since April 2016, more than 13,000 Islanders have participated in cancer screening programs:  

•    over 1,000 women have been screened for cervical cancer through Pap Clinics;

•    over 8,000 women had a screening mammogram for breast cancer; and

•    over 4,200 men and women have been screened for colorectal cancer using a FIT Kit.

“It is important for Islanders to talk with their primary care provider about their risk factors for cancer and what they can do to reduce their risk of developing cancer, including what screening programs are right for them,” said Dr. Andre Celliers, family physician and chief of Family and Community Medicine. “In some cases, a person may not have any symptoms of cancer. Regular screening can find cancer early, and early detection means more treatment options and better outcomes.”

“By proclaiming April as Daffodil Month, we honor the lives of the many Islanders impacted by cancer and the efforts of those who work tirelessly to save people from this disease,” adds Marlene Mulligan, executive director of the Canadian Cancer Society, PEI. “May the yellow daffodil stand both as a symbol of hope and a call to action. Take a step in protecting your own health and wear the yellow pin to let Islanders know they have your support.”

Backgrounder:

Cancer remains a leading cause of death among Islanders.

In recent years, several investments have been made to improve cancer care on Prince Edward Island including:
•    hiring a provincial cancer coordinator, cancer a cancer surveillance epidemiologist and an oncology pharmacist;
•    opening a new Provincial Palliative Care Centre and enhancing palliative home care services;
•    expanding the pap screening services to communities across the province;
•    introducing several support programs for cancer patients and their families, including the Moving Forward program to support living after cancer treatment;
•    adding more than 50 cancer drugs to the provincial formulary;
•    updating legislation to ban flavoured tobacco products and control the use of electronic smoking devices;
•    funding cancer outreach programs in Island communities; and,
•    planning for a new $10 million linear accelerator at the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre to provide the latest in radiation treatment technology.

Screening programs and services are available on Prince Edward Island for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer.

Cervical Cancer Screening Program (Pap Screening):
A pap test is recommended for women if they:
•    are 21-65 years of age and have been sexually active (including intercourse, as well as oral or touch with a partner’s genital area, male or female); or
•    are over 65 years of age and have not had three negative tests in the last 10 years.

A pap test appointment can be made without a referral from a physician or nurse practitioner by calling 1-888-561-2233, online at Pap Test Appointment or with a primary care provider.

Breast Cancer Screening Program:
A screening mammogram is recommended for women aged 40-75 who have:
•    never had breast cancer;
•    do not have symptoms such as a breast lump, puckered skin, rash or nipple discharge;
•    have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months;
•    do not have breast implants; or
•    have a parent or sibling with breast cancer.

A breast screening appointment can be made without a referral from a physician or nurse practitioner by calling 1-888-592-9888.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Program:
Colorectal cancer screening using an at home FIT Kit is recommended for individuals 50-74 years of age who are considered average risk (have no family history of colorectal cancer or are not experiencing symptoms of change in bowl movement, visible blood in their stool or excessive vomiting).  

Requests for a FIT Kit can be made without a referral from a physician or nurse practitioner by calling 1-888-561-2233 or at Colorectal Cancer Screening Program.

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
Senior Communications Officer
Health PEI
(902) 368-6135
ajhamel@gov.pe.ca 

General Inquiries

Health PEI
16 Garfield Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: (902) 368-6130
Fax: (902) 368-6136

healthpei@gov.pe.ca

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