March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. To kick things off, Colon Cancer Canada is launching its 2012 campaign with the help of some high-profile Canadians through a hard-hitting public service announcement (PSA) campaign in the hopes of encouraging dialogue about the disease, because when it comes to colon cancer, silence can be deadly.
Canadian celebrities involved in the campaign include Olympic medalist Adam van Koeverden, legendary singer Anne Murray, hockey legend Darryl Sittler, actress Emmanuelle Chriqui, actor Neil Crone and colon cancer survivor Pamela Wallin.
“We are pleased and honoured to have these well-known Canadians on board with our campaign,” said Amy Elmaleh, co-founder of Colon Cancer Canada. “They all have a personal story that brought them to Colon Cancer Canada and we couldn’t be more proud of them for stepping up and giving their time to help us get our important message across.”
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of both male and female cancer-related deaths in Canada. In 2011, over 22,200 Canadians were diagnosed with colon cancer, and almost half of those diagnosed died simply because they found out too late. Colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer and, if detected early, over 90 per cent of cases should result in a full recovery.
There is no single identifiable cause for developing colon cancer, but there are several risk factors, including a family history of colon cancer, age (risk increases from the age of 50), polyps present in the colon or rectum, a high-fat diet, an inactive lifestyle, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer can include a change in bowel movements, blood in stool, abdominal discomfort, unexplainable weight loss, the feeling that the bowel is not emptying completely, stools that are narrower than usual, and increased fatigue and weakness. Anyone over 50 should be screened, regardless of family history, and screenings should take place even earlier for those at higher risk.
“One of the issues surrounding colon cancer, and the reason so many people don’t get the help they need, is the fear of talking about it,” says Elmaleh. “For some reason, there is a stigma attached to the disease that we need to dispel and do so quickly. We are hoping our PSA campaign will get the word out that knowing the signs of colon cancer and talking about it with your family and your doctor will result in prevention and an effective cure.”
The PSAs, which will be aired throughout 2012, are available for download from the Colon Cancer Canada website at www.coloncancercanada.ca. The message is simple: talk to your doctor and take a simple test because not knowing is not the answer.
In addition to Colon Cancer Awareness month and the PSA campaign, there are a number of activities taking place in 2012 to help raise awareness of colon cancer, including the 2012 Anne Murray Charity Golf Classic and Colon Cancer Canada’s 16th Annual “Push for Your Tush” Walk/Run which will take place in cities across the country this summer. These popular and successful fundraising events are excellent opportunities to bring together patients, family members and friends to help make a difference.
Colon Cancer Canada was started in 1996 with a mission to raise public awareness of this deadly disease. To date, with the help of hundreds of committed volunteers across the country, Colon Cancer Canada has raised more than $6.6 million, $2.5 million of which has been raised through the annual walks and runs.
Colon Cancer Canada is making a significant impact on this disease by financially assisting research efforts to find a cure and by offering a network of support for patients and families.
For more information about colon cancer and to find out how you can help, visit www.coloncancercanada.ca.