Cancer Control is Cancer Screening

The idea of being able to control cancer seems far-fetched.

After all, it is the largest killer in the world, a highly complex catch-all for several diseases. Even preventative measures are not guaranteed to work, and containing even small tumours requires the work of a team of oncologists with the support of nurses and laboratories and other healthcare infrastructure.

So when I asked our CEO, Jackie Manthorne, about what cancer control meant to CCSN, her answer was simple: cancer control is cancer screening.

It makes sense in a lot of ways. Many cancers are survivable if they are detected early, and methods of screening have improved over the years. A spotlight has been shone on many advances in next-generation sequencing and blood tests as a cause for optimism. The easier and less invasive screening is, the higher the rate of survival is for everyone.

But while the technology may have kept pace, the healthcare system has not. That is why we have partnered with Dense Breasts Canada to lower the age of screening to 40. It’s why we have been pushing provincial governments to expand their lung cancer screening programs. It’s also why we push for things like the HPV vaccine, which stops one of the main causes of cancer outside smoking and drinking.

We also can’t overlook lifestyle changes, such as alcohol consumption and smoking. Even things like a healthy diet and avoidance of certain foods help in making sure cancer stays in check. However, in order to fight the disease, governments should adequately cover and approve the means to screen it. It will pay off for our healthcare system as a whole.