Home screening kits for colon cancer are back in the mail after a seven-month program suspension to address sensitivity problems with the device used to process the kits.
"After we identified the problem in March, we worked closely with the manufacturer of the device that analyzes the completed home screening kits," said Dr. Bernard Badley, medical director, Cancer Care Nova Scotia's Colon Cancer Prevention Program. "The manufacturer has assured us it has taken the necessary steps to fix the device and that the product is working as it should. We will monitor the test results closely to ensure the modified device continues to meet our standards.
"Now that the problem has been addressed, I encourage all Nova Scotians to complete the test kit when it arrives in the mail."
Nova Scotians between the ages of 50 and 74 will receive a home screening kit in their mailbox a few weeks after they turn an even age (50, 52, 54, etc.).
People due to receive a kit in the seven months the program was suspended will receive it over the next seven months. A complete mail-out schedule is available by visiting www.cancercare.ns.ca/coloncancerprevention or by calling 1-866-599-2267.
Anyone who has already received a home screening kit and decided to wait until the testing had been fixed is encouraged to complete the test now and send it in.
"We realize some people may be concerned about having to wait a few extra months for a home screening kit," said Dr. Badley. "However, since it may take up to a dozen years for a small growth in the colon to turn into cancer, a delay of a few months in completing the test should not be a cause for concern.
"Anyone who has possible symptoms or concerns about colon cancer should not wait for a home screening kit. Instead, they should talk with their family doctor or health-care provider about the right test for them."
Dr. Badley said the Colon Cancer Prevention Program is working as it was designed. Its monitoring systems provided the first indication of a change in the performance of the analyzing device. To date, the program has identified more than 2,400 Nova Scotians with pre-cancers or cancer.
"There is no doubt the program is saving lives," said Dr. Badley. "I urge every Nova Scotian to take five minutes and do the test every time it arrives in the mail. Those few minutes may save your life."
For more information about the Colon Cancer Prevention Program, call 1-866-599-2267 or visit www.cancercare.ns.ca/coloncancerprevention .
Cancer Care Nova Scotia, a program of the Department of Health and Wellness, was created in 1998 to facilitate quality cancer prevention and care for all Nova Scotians. It supports health professionals in providing patients with high quality care.
Department of Health and Wellness
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