Increased Access to Screening for Colorectal Cancer

SMITHS FALLS, ON – Officials at Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital (PSFDH) have announced the approval from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MoHLTC) to perform 500 additional colonoscopies during the 2007/2008 fiscal year. The additional colonoscopies are for individuals who have had a positive fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or who have a first degree relative with colorectal cancer.

Funding for the additional procedures will come from Ontario’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, which is co-sponsored by the MoHLTC and Cancer Care Ontario (CCO). It is the first program of its kind in Canada.

“The good news is that colon cancer can be prevented,” says Linda Bisonette, Vice President of Patient Care Services at PSFDH. “Colorectal screening saves lives, and we are consistently looking for opportunities to enhance the health and well being of the people in our communities.”

According to CCO, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in Canadian women, although men are affected, too. Ontario has one of the highest rates of colorectal cancer in the world. In 2006, an estimated 7,500 Ontarians were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 3,100 died from the disease.

Colonoscopies are performed by gastroenterologists and general surgeons. The outpatient procedure requires the patient to be mildly sedated for approximately 30 minutes so the physician can carefully examine the lining of the colon and rectum using a thin flexible fiberoptic instrument with a tiny camera on the end. If necessary, biopsies are taken and polyps are removed. Removing benign polyps can prevent cancer from developing.

Currently at PSFDH, colonoscopies are performed at both sites by Dr. Robert Del Grande, Internal Medicine, and Dr. Thomas Morell, General Surgery; however, the additional volumes will only be done by Dr. Morell, due to other pressing workload issues for Dr. Del Grande.

PSFDH was one of three hospitals in the South East LIHN (Local Health Integration Network) to receive funding. The others were Hotel Dieu in Kingston and Quinte Hospital in Belleville.

For more information, please contact: Todd Stepanuik, President and CEO, Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, Tel:  613-283-2330 ext. 1130,

Great War Memorial Site
33 Drummond Street West
Perth, ON K7H 2K1
Tel: (613) 267-1500
Smiths Falls Site
60 Cornelia Street West
Smiths Falls, ON K7A 2H9
Tel: (613) 283-2330

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