It appears almost half of the colorectal cancers in Canada are discovered after they’ve already spread, even though most provinces and territories, including Ontario, have screening programs that can catch it in early stages.
A new Canadian Cancer Society report says 29 per cent of colorectal cancers are diagnosed at stage 3, and 20 per cent are diagnosed at stage 4.
This research has author Leah Smith urging those between the ages of 50 and 74 who are not at high risk to get tested every two years.
“We have the tools available to detect these cancers earlier. Unfortunately, what we’re also seeing is participation in colorectal cancer screening is lower than what we need it to be to really make a move on this cancer,” Smith explains.
Smith says the five year survival rate for colorectal cancer patients when diagnosed at stage 4 is less than 15 per cent.
But the survival rate increases to 90 per cent when it is found at stage 1.
She points to an at-home stool test that can even detect pre-cancerous signs.