Lung cancer coordinator will help with screening, prevention
A new lung cancer coordinator will help the province develop its first-ever screening program while educating Islanders about how to prevent the disease.
Lung cancer is one of the four most prominent cancer types on Prince Edward Island, and by itself it claims the lives of more than 100 Islanders each year. To address the province’s high incidence rate, a full-time lung cancer prevention and screening coordinator was hired in February to support lung cancer prevention and tobacco cessation, and to monitor evidence to support the development of a lung cancer screening program.
Islanders can support those living with cancer and their families during April by purchasing a daffodil pin during the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Month.
“A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming for an individual and their loved ones, and as a government we are working to support Islanders living with, through, and beyond cancer,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell. “Tremendous progress has been made in recent years to advance cancer care in our province. During Daffodil Month, I want to encourage all Islanders to take opportunities to do what they can to better their own health and well being – such as knowing risk factors, participating in cancer screening programs, or calling the smokers help line to make a change for the better.”
The PEI Cancer Strategy 2016-2019 focuses on reducing the burden of the four most common cancers in the province: lung, breast, colorectal, and prostate. In addition to reducing the burden of lung cancer in the province, planning is also underway to establish a prostate cancer action group to determine how to move forward with developing a screening program and care coordination.
Reports on lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers for Prince Edward Island will be completed in August.
“Two in five Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, but more people are also surviving the disease,” said Jane Parsons, Regional Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society. “Money raised from flower sales during Daffodil Month allows the Canadian Cancer Society to fund more life-saving research, and offer support programs and resources for survivors.”
Screening helps catch some cancers early when they are the most treatable, and almost half of all cancers can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. Since April 2017, more than 15,400 Islanders have participated in cancer screening programs:
- over 1,300 women have been screened for cervical cancer through pap clinics;
- over 9,800 women had a screening mammogram for breast cancer; and
- over 4,300 men and women have been screened for colorectal cancer using a FIT Kit.
“By working together with health care providers and organizations, such as the Canadian Cancer Society, we are making great strides in modernizing cancer care in our province, ensuring Islanders have access to prevention, screening, treatment and supports when they need,” said Dr. André Celliers, family physician and chief of Family and Community Medicine. “It remains important for Islanders to talk with their primary care provider about their risk factors for cancer, what they can do to reduce their risk of developing cancer, including what screening programs are right for them.”
Information on cancer screenings and programming on Prince Edward Island is available at www.healthpei.ca/cancercare.
Cancer remains a leading cause of death among Islanders. 75 per cent of lung cancer is diagnosed at an advanced, non-curable stage.
Last June, Health PEI released an annual progress report sharing information on the strategic actions and investments to date. Highlights include:
- establishing action groups for lung and breast cancer;
- updating legislation to ban flavoured tobacco products and control the use of electronic smoking devices;
- establishing a quit smoking program at the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre;
- expanding the pap screening services to communities across the province;
- creating a new information resource for people diagnosed with breast cancer called One Step at a Time: A Pathway Through Breast Cancer;
- introducing several support programs for cancer patients and their families, including the Moving Forward program to support living after cancer treatment;
- creating an Advanced Care Plan and Goals of Care resources and planning tools for Islanders to document their values, beliefs and wishes for their health and personal care;
- hiring a Clinical Trials Coordinator to increasing the number of trials available to Islanders;
- hiring a provincial cancer coordinator, cancer a cancer surveillance epidemiologist and oncology pharmacist;
- adding more than 50 cancer drugs to the provincial formulary;
- funding cancer outreach programs in Island communities;
- opening a new Provincial Palliative Care Centre and enhancing palliative home care services; and,
- commencing first phase of construction 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 www.healthpei.ca/papscreening 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, online at www.healthpei.ca/colorectal.