Our Story: the Halladays

Wouldn’t it be nice if “our story” was just one about our marriage, our children, our life together and our family .. but “our story” also involves cancer. Colorectal cancer that my husband has been fighting for 3 years.

Ryan was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer in March 2015. He was 39 years old, and otherwise in great health. In September 2015, he had treatment to shrink and surgically remove the tumor. He also received chemotherapy to ensure the cancer was gone. In January 2017, through a routine scan, it was discovered that the cancer had moved to his liver. In February 2017, he had 1/3 of his liver removed. In June 2017, he had a clean CT scan, but in November through a visit to the ER department, a CT scan showed a recurrent mass (cancer) on the outside of this rectum. This is called a “local re-occurrence”.

Our family, our amazing supportive family, has done this a few times: receive the news, process it, and then get ready for the “fight of our lives”. This one was the hardest: we know that when cancer comes back, it’s never good. We waited 10 days, 10 really long and sad days to meet with the surgeon, who sat across from us and said there was “nothing” that they could do, and a referral would be put in to someone who might be able to help.

This was devastating and horrible! I wouldn’t wish this moment on anyone. The next day my husband and I woke up, looked at each other and decided “this can not be it”. We are not done fighting, there has to be an option, there must be someone out there who can help us.

I have worked in not-for-profit my whole career, yet I never thought to find the association that deals with colorectal cancer, not until that day. I wish that I had found them 3 years ago because that moment, that day when I reached out to Colorectal Cancer Canada, our life changed, our fight changed, and our outcome changed.

A representative from Colorectal Cancer Canada reached out to me on a Saturday night, immediately I emailed her and talked to me for 40 minutes about options. She gave me hope for the future, and within seconds I knew I had an advocate. We were referred to the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook, a centre of excellence. We were also told about the “Young Adult Colorectal Cancer Clinic” headed up by Dr. Shady Ashamalla. This is a clinic which specializes in treatment for those people diagnosed with the disease before the age of 50. We had an appointment with a highly skilled and expert surgeon in a week’s time. He believes he can remove the tumor and bring my husband back to health, a life without cancer. A week later, we had met the rest of the team: the radiation oncologist and medical oncologist. Each appointment, moved us further in our plan and each interaction with the staff at Sunnybrook and Colorectal Cancer Canada has been positive, uplifting and safe.

As I mentioned before, that first call I made to Colorectal Cancer Canada changed our life because we took the power back, we have a plan and an excellent care team. It changed our fight; now we are fighting with more knowledge; our team of supporters has grown; we have an entire organization and cancer clinic supporting us in this journey and it has changed our outcome. Before I called Colorectal Cancer Canada, we had to sit down and tell our young daughters for the 3rd time that their dad has cancer and unsure if anything could be done. After the call and the support we received from Colorectal Cancer Canada though, we were able to tell our daughters differently! Yes, their dad has recurrent cancer, but his medical team has a curative treatment plan in place and is working very hard to achieve a goal of no evidence of disease (NED) for him. We know nothing is absolute, and anything can happen, but we have hope, knowledge and advocates as we navigate through this part of the journey with Colorectal Cancer Canada, and that is a huge difference!

Our story if one of hope. Cancer will not define us! Instead, our determination and willingness to do everything we possibly can to help my husband Ryan will define us as a united family. Thank you Colorectal Cancer Canada!

With much gratitude,
Christina Halladay

Starlette promotes bralette for a good cause – Order yours by March 13, 2018

Starlette promotes bralette for a good cause – Order yours by March 13, 2018

Montreal actress Juliette Gosselin partners up with Sokoloff Lingerie to help increase awareness of colorectal cancer among women. She named her bralette Jacqueline in honor of her grandmother, who fought this disease. All the sales profits will be donated to Colorectal Cancer Canada.

The Colorectal Cancer Canada is dedicated to increasing awareness of colorectal cancer, supporting patients, and advocating for population-based screening and timely access to effective treatments. Worldwide, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer afflicting humans.

This collab falls under a bigger initiative called B-Cause where other Montreal artists, joined Sokoloff Lingerie to create bralettes for different charities.

Loungewear satin bralette
Very deep cleavage
Large frilled elastic at underbust
Delicate bow at center front
Non-adjustable straps
Hook & Eye back closure
Perfect for indoor cooconing
Made in our very own Montreal workshop

100% polyester.

We recommend a SMALL for cups:
32A / 34A / 36A / 32B / 34B / 32C
We recommenda MEDIUM for cups:
36B / 34C / 36C / 32D
We recommend a LARGE for cups:
34D / 36D
If needed, refer to our fitting room tips to find your size !


To learn more about Juliette Gosselin click here!
To learn more about Colorectal Cancer Canada, click here!

Dress in Blue Day

Dress in Blue Day

Today is DRESS IN BLUE DAY! Together, let’s show our support to those affected by colorectal cancer. Share your photos using #DressinBlueDay #ColorectalCancerAwarenessMonth

On Dress in Blue Day, and throughout Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, you can help raise awareness about the second most common cancer in Canada. Today, and all throughout the month, we encourage families, businesses and organizations to dress in blue to show support for those touched by colorectal cancer, and to also share important information on how a healthy lifestyle and effective screening can save lives.

Why Go Blue?

Dress in Blue Day is a good opportunity to engage in an activity that raises awareness about colorectal cancer prevention, while celebrating survivors and remembering loved ones lost too soon. In addition, organizing a fundraiser in your community forges stronger bonds between friends and neighbors while supporting the Colorectal Cancer Canada mission. We are the country’s leading colorectal cancer not for profit patient organization dedicated to colorectal cancer awareness and education, supporting patients and their families and advocating on their behalf.

How to Go Blue?

• Ask friends and families to show their support by wearing blue
• Hold a contest for the most creative blue outfits
• Distribute colorectal cancer awareness materials
• Decorate your home or workplace with blue lights and blue accents
• Share on social media why this cause matters to you

5 steps to raise money for the cause
1. Visit dressinblueday.ca
2. Create a team
3. Set a goal
4. Start fundraising
5. Wear blue

For more information, visit dressinblueday.ca or contact Frank Pitman at frankp@colorectalcancercanada.com (514) 875-7745 ext. 2529

The Christodoulou Story

The Christodoulou Story

My name is Franca Christodoulou and this is my story. At age 49 my husband Chris was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer that had metastasized to his liver. As you can image, this came as a complete shock and changed our world forever. Our focus was to do anything possible to provide my husband the best treatment options so that he would be around for our precious family, as we have 3 young children; but we felt lost, confused and helpless as we did not know where to turn to for guidance.

I was made aware of Colorectal Cancer Canada from a doctor I was accidently referred to and it changed our lives. I decided to call the number and spoke with Frank, a wonderful gentleman from Montreal, who told me “you’ve called the right place” and that he would have someone from the Toronto office call me. I received a call right away from Filomena and as soon as I spoke with her I indeed knew that I had called “the right place”. She was passionate, caring and a wealth of knowledge. She encouraged us to attend monthly colorectal cancer information and support group meetings. We started to attend these meetings and they have provided us with a wealth of information, support and friendship. Filomena reviewed my husband’s case and made us aware of new options available to us. She was influential in connecting us to the right doctors and my husband underwent surgery at Sunnybrook in August 2017 to insert a Hepatic Arterial Infusion pump for the treatment of his disease. Colorectal Cancer Canada was instrumental in helping to make this treatment available in Canada through a clinical study at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. We feel truly blessed to have Filomena and Colorectal Cancer Canada take on the fight to provide patients with the best treatment options available and their tireless efforts to bring new treatment options to patients who might not otherwise have access. Colorectal Cancer Canada provides guidance to all members who attend these monthly meetings and go above and beyond to help support all of us regardless of disease stage or where they are in their journey. I strongly recommend any patient who is diagnosed with colorectal cancer contact Colorectal Cancer Canada. It could change your life.

With all our love and appreciation.
The Christodoulou Family



“My name is Gemma (Filipino-Canadian). I have colorectal cancer, stage 3b with no symptoms before I got diagnosed. I am 55-year-old, single mom with three sons and one grandson and I am the first cancer patient in my family. Every cancer patient differs in terms of struggles because each of us have a different system where our body responds differently from the chemo drug and other drugs to make us well. I had suffered side effects that my oncologist calls rare, but I battle my disease with faith in God, faith in my doctors, medical team and faith in myself that I have lived to this day to share my story.

I firmly believe that fighting cancer with positivity is the most powerful weapon to battle it. I was inspired and dedicated to volunteer as a fundraiser for Colon Cancer Canada now Colorectal Cancer Canada and I support the Wendy Bear Assistance Program which assist colorectal cancer patients with their financial needs. A legacy that I wish to be a part of Wendy Sittler’s goal to help those afflicted with this disease. I call my campaign “Gemma Loves Blue”.


To date I was blessed to raise $3,445.00 and it will continue to rise, as I find more people to support our cause. I believe in the importance of this program and I wanted to do more to help my fellow colorectal cancer patients. It has been a year that I am now a volunteer in spreading awareness and motivating a lot of people to support the Wendy Bears. The most uplifting part is I had the opportunity to reach out to colorectal cancer patients and we bonded in friendships in terms of comforting each other’s pains and suffering because of this disease. I believe that I am a living legacy to inspire others with the disease.

I am determined in what I do, and I am encouraging my fellow colorectal cancer patients to be strong and if you can join me supporting the cause of Colorectal Cancer Canada then we can make a difference not only to ourselves but for others as well. What is wrong with our BUTT can make wonders for others if we try to be a part of every BUTT around us.”

Canadian’s New Food Guide Moving Away From Meat Consumption – Give it a try with us during Meat Free Week!

Canadian’s New Food Guide Moving Away From Meat Consumption – Give it a try with us during Meat Free Week!

In the past two decades, Canadians have shifted towards a diet which includes more fruits and vegetables, cereal products, and nuts and beans.

With more and more Canadians making the switch, it is no wonder that Health Canada just released its preliminary draft of Canada’s new Food Guide, the first such overhaul of the country’s nutrition policy in ten years. The changes are long overdue, say health care experts, many of whom see the proposal as a step in the right direction.

The preliminary draft highlights include:

• The importance of adding whole foods to your diet, specifically plant-based foods (such as legumes) as a preferred source of protein
• Regular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods, especially plant-based sources of protein
• A shift away from animal foods by advising that people eat foods with unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat

Even though statistics in the last 3 decades show a steady decline in Canadian meat consumption, there are still many meat lovers that remain skeptical about making the switch despite the World Health Organization’s classification of red meat – including, beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat – as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
WHO found an even stronger link between processed meat – such as salami and hotdogs, and bowel cancer.

Studies conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund show bowel cancer risk increases by 17% per 100g of red meat consumed per day and that bowel cancer risk increases by 18% per 50g of processed meat consumed per day.

• ¼ cooked hamburger = 80g
• 8 oz steak = 170g
• Spaghetti Bolognese sauce = 100g
• 1 large sausage = 40g processed meat
• 3 slices of ham = 70g processed meat

Read more about how you can reduce your bowel cancer risk.

Try Going Meatless For a Week With Us!

People around the world will be going meatless next week including all of us at Colorectal Cancer Canada for Meat Free Week (18th-24th September 2017). This new campaign challenges participants to give up meat for seven days and raise funds for a great cause.

Going meat free for one week creates a great opportunity to start thinking about how much meat you eat and the impact eating too much meat can have.

Everyone is invited to take the Meat Free Week challenge and discover how easy it is to make little changes that can create a big difference. Challenge yourself, your family, your friends and colleagues to give up meat for seven days.

Sign up for Meat Free Week and raise funds for a great cause!

Not able to participate, but still want to help make real change happen? Make a donation today.

If you’re already living meat free, there are still plenty of ways you can get involved in Meat Free Week.

+ Meat Free Week: Live well. Eat well. Be well.

• Adopt a physically active lifestyle.
• Consume a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant-based foods.
• Maintain a healthy body weight.

Are you following our healthy our foods that fight cancer program?
Once you’ve made it through Meat Free Week, this is a great on-going support program that can help you eat better and live healthier.

Check us out today via our website or facebook page!

About Foods That Fight Cancer

Who Are We?

We are believers of FOOD.

We want to empower Canadians to take charge & take over their health!

So Welcome fellow food enthusiast! Learn about foods here, find your favorites recipes, invite your friends & family, and TAKE OVER your kitchen & your health!



Using Epigenetics as Biomarkers for Colorectal Cancer

Using Epigenetics as Biomarkers for Colorectal Cancer

By Marc Aurèle Chay



In Canada, screening for colorectal cancer can be done using the FOBT or FIT tests. These currently have suboptimal diagnostic accuracy, which is why researchers are investigating other avenues for non-invasive detection of early CRC. Scientists have found that in many early-stage cancers, including CRC, epigenetic alterations are present in much higher frequency than genetic mutations. As such, DNA methylation, ncRNAs, histone modifications are being investigated for potential diagnostic and prognostic markers of CRC.

DNA Methylation Biomarkers

Blood, stool, saliva and urine are being examined by the research community for these markers. DNA methylation in particular is being studied extensively, and some groups have reported sensitivities of 90-95% with specificity ranges of 85-94% for certain biomarkers in CRC. Some genes have risen to be the most promising markers, including the tumor specific M2 isoform of pyruvate kinase (PKM2), tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP1), vimentin (VIM) and septin 9 (SEPT9). DNA methylation is also being investigated for prognostic biomarkers and predictive markers for response to treatment. In particular, CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) positive cancers are found to correlate strongly with overall unfavorable prognosis, but seem to benefit from 5-FU based adjuvant chemotherapy. Hypermethylated Transcription Factor AP-2 Epsilon (TFAP2E) seems to also predict response to 5-FU based chemotherapy.

Histone Modification Biomarkers

Diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers using histone modifications have been much less studied, partly due to technical limitations of assays that are used to characterize the chromatin landscape. Some studies show acetylation of H3 lysine 56 and di- or tri-methylation of H3 lysine 9 and 27 have potential to be prognostic markers in CRC. These results are still currently preliminary and are expected to be further explored with the new bioinformatic tools and next-generation sequencing technologies that are being optimized.

Non-Coding RNA Biomarkers

On the other hand, non-coding RNAs, and in particular miRNAs, have triggered a substantial interest from the scientific community. Blood and stool based biomarkers have been investigated, and multiple candidates such as miR-21, miR-92a, miR17-3p or miR-106a have come up as potential diagnostic markers. MiR-21 has also been associated with poor patient survival, and several other miRNAs have been proposed as prognostic markers. As research evolves, scientists hope to engineer a panel of biomarkers that will be able to accurately identify and predict prognosis for early stage CRCs.

Epigenetics has offered us new tools to understand the complex etiology of colorectal cancer. As the scientific community further elucidates the mechanisms at play, epigenetic biomarkers to diagnose, classify and predict prognosis of CRC are also uncovered. Further research on these biomarkers may provide us with high performance assays that can be used to prevent and better manage patients with CRC.


Mitchell, S.M., Ho, T., Brown, G.S., Baker, R.T., Thomas, M.L., McEvoy, A., Xu, Z.-Z., Ross, J.P., Lockett, T.J., Young, G.P., LaPointe, L.C., Pedersen, S.K., Molloy, P.L., 2016. Evaluation of Methylation Biomarkers for Detection of Circulating Tumor DNA and Application to Colorectal Cancer. Genes (Basel) 7. doi:10.3390/genes7120125

Okugawa, Y., Grady, W.M., Goel, A., 2015. Epigenetic Alterations in Colorectal Cancer: Emerging Biomarkers. Gastroenterology 149, 1204–1225.e12. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2015.07.011

Rozalski, R., Gackowski, D., Siomek-Gorecka, A., Banaszkiewicz, Z., Olinski, R., 2016. Urinary Measurement of Epigenetic DNA Modifications: A Non-Invasive Assessment of the Whole-Body Epigenetic Status in Healthy Subjects and Colorectal Cancer Patients. ChemistryOpen 5, 550–553. doi:10.1002/open.201600103

Sameer, A.S., Nissar, S., 2016. Epigenetics in diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Mol Biol Res Commun 5, 49–57.

Sazanov, A.A., Kiselyova, E.V., Zakharenko, A.A., Romanov, M.N., Zaraysky, M.I., 2016. Plasma and saliva miR-21 expression in colorectal cancer patients. J. Appl. Genet. doi:10.1007/s13353-016-0379-9

Understanding What Epigenetic Means in Colorectal Cancer

Understanding What Epigenetic Means in Colorectal Cancer

By Marc Aurèle Chay

Vaiopoulos, A.G., Athanasoula, K.C., Papavassiliou, A.G., 2014. Epigenetic modifications in colorectal cancer: Molecular insights and therapeutic challenges. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease 1842, 971–980. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.02.006

Vaiopoulos, A.G., Athanasoula, K.C., Papavassiliou, A.G., 2014. Epigenetic modifications in colorectal cancer: Molecular insights and therapeutic challenges. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular Basis of Disease 1842, 971–980. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.02.006

Consider the genome as words in a book, and epigenetics as the punctuation and accents that dictate the way each sentence is read. Epigenetic regulation refers to the heritable and reversible mechanisms that alter gene expression without affecting the underlying DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms, among others, include DNA methylation, non-coding RNAs, chromatin remodelers and histone post-translational modifications. They play a crucial role in the proper functioning of a cell. In cancer, genetic and epigenetic alterations are linked together and can both contribute to the activation of oncogenes and/or the silencing of tumor suppressors. In colorectal cancer (CRC), understanding the epigenetic mechanisms driving pathogenesis have been a focus of the scientific community since the early 2000s. Many potential driver aberrations have been found, but as with genetic mutations, there isn’t a single mechanism that can explain CRC development.

DNA Methylation in CRC

DNA methylation refers to the addition of a methyl group to a nucleotide, usually a cytosine in a CG context. When present at CpG islands, it correlates strongly with repression of the nearest gene. Researchers have found global genomic hypomethylation, especially in CIN CRCs, as well as hypermethylation in promoter regions of specific genes such as APC, Cadherin-1 (CDH1), runt-related transcription factor 3 (RUNX3), mutL homolog 1 (MLH1), O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A), and RASSF1A.

Histone Modifications in CRC

Other than DNA methylation are histone post-translational modifications. These are the addition of methyl/acetyl/ubiquityl/phosphate groups to the proteins that make up nucleosomes. The modifications regulate the way DNA is compacted in the nucleus, and recruit various proteins involved in activation or repression of gene expression. In CRC, many genes encoding of proteins responsible for these histone modifications are dysregulated, thus changing the epigenomic landscape of the cell. For example, histone deacetylase 2(HDAC2) is upregulated in the early steps of CRC. HDAC1-3, 5 and 7 have also been reported to be upregulated in CRC. Dysregulation of Lysine specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), which interacts with tumor suppressor p53, seems also to increase the proliferation, invasion and metastatic potential of CRC cells.

Non-Coding RNAs in CRC

Another type of epigenetic mechanism which can modulate gene expression in CRC is the non-coding RNAs which include the micro-RNAs (miRNA), and long-non-coding RNAs (lncRNA). For example, the miR-200 family are known to be implicated in cancer invasion and migration; the hox transcript antisense intergenic RNA (HOTAIR) is correlated to advanced CRC and enhanced metastatic potential of cancer cells.

Epigenetics is still a relatively new field of research. As scientists strive to elucidate the etiology of colorectal cancer, they discover new potential mechanisms at play. Understanding the epigenetic basis of CRC may open the door for new drugs and biomarkers, so be on the lookout!


Bardhan, K., Liu, K., 2013. Epigenetics and Colorectal Cancer Pathogenesis. Cancers (Basel) 5, 676–713. doi:10.3390/cancers5020676

Sameer, A.S., Nissar, S., 2016. Epigenetics in diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Mol Biol Res Commun 5, 49–57.

Sazanov, A.A., Kiselyova, E.V., Zakharenko, A.A., Romanov, M.N., Zaraysky, M.I., 2016. Plasma and saliva miR-21 expression in colorectal cancer patients. J. Appl. Genet. doi:10.1007/s13353-016-0379-9

Vaiopoulos, A.G., Athanasoula, K.C., Papavassiliou, A.G., 2014. Epigenetic modifications in colorectal cancer: Molecular insights and therapeutic challenges. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular Basis of Disease 1842, 971–980. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.02.006

The CCAC shares its stories of survival to encourage hope for a better future

The CCAC shares its stories of survival to encourage hope for a better future

barryBarry Stein – CCAC Founder & CEO
Diagnosed with stage IV metastatic colon cancer in 1995

‘Upon my diagnosis I knew very little, if anything, about cancer except that I had to fight. I wanted to do everything possible to improve my situation, but I had no experience and I understood very little of the information given to me. I vowed to do as much research as I could so that I would be able to make informed decisions about my treatment.

My determination proved to be a very important first step in my cancer journey and as a survivor. I now know that colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable. That’s why I have devoted my life since 1995 to making others aware of the disease, supporting patients and their families and working hard across Canada both for the implementation of screening programs, as well as equal and timely access to effective treatments to improve patient outcomes.’

Over 20 years ago Barry Stein’s vision to create a better, more preventive and equally accessible medical environment for all Canadians touched by colorectal cancer was put into motion with the birth of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC). His mission was threefold: Awareness, Advocacy and Education, the three pillars needed to implement change for a cancer free future.

As part of their programs, the CCAC developed numerous monthly support groups across the country to create a meeting place for patients, their families and caregivers to talk about their individual situations and exchange ideas of how to help each other through not only their struggles but their successes as well. The CCAC’s dedicated cancer coaches furnish attendees with valuable information by sharing up to date information about the most current therapies designed to help them. Participants have said they come away from the meetings empowered with vital knowledge each time. Here are a few stories of people the CCAC has helped over the years:

Elan Freedy
Diagnosed with Stage IIIB Rectal Cancer

Elan felt in perfect health before his annual checkup and a rectal exam to check his prostate found microscopic traces of blood. Both his GP and GI told him it was probably nothing based on his young age but recommended a colonoscopy just in case.
“The day of the diagnosis still seems likes a dream in my memory. I remember feeling like it can’t be real.

I was lucky to have such a supportive and loving family and wife who took amazing care of me through all stages of my treatment. I also feel lucky to have made some amazing friends who are my peers in this journey and have greatly enriched my life. I think everyone who goes through the journey comes out stronger and with a better perspective on life than when they went into it.”

UntitledFrank Formusa
Diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer

Frank Formusa began his journey with cancer at 66.

In the fall of 2012, his Oncologist suggested that he may be a candidate for a Hepatic Arterial Infusion Pump – a procedure unavailable in Canada during that time. He wrote to various Provincial and Federal agencies to advocate for the procedure to be done in Canada. In doing so, he met Barry Stein who shared his own successful personal journey with colon cancer and introduced him to Filomena Servidio-Italiano – leader of one of the CCAC support groups.

“This is not a disease that one should go through by themselves. To go to the CCAC meetings is to have a safe place for patients and their families to be really listened to and appreciated. We have left every meeting feeling more informed and with a more positive outlook.

Thank you CCAC – Thank you Filomena! I am so grateful to have met you and to know that you are there for us and for so many just like us.”

jamie 1Jamie Mead
Diagnosed Stage IV Colon Cancer two weeks shy of her 28th birthday

Her diagnosis stemmed from acid reflex complaints at a walk in clinic.

“I have had my surgeon admit that he never thought he would see me again after our first meeting. But with determination, a positive attitude and the will to keep on living – I have proved everyone wrong. I know this is not the end of my battle against colon cancer. I will be fighting this for the rest of my life, but that is ok. I am not thankful for cancer – that would be crazy – I am thankful for other things it has given me. I have a greater appreciation for all those who surround my life. It has made me into a person I didn’t know existed.”

IMG_0289Linda Wilkins
Diagnosed with Stage IV Colorectal Cancer in August 2005

After her surgery to remove the primary tumour along with about 75 percent of her colon, followed by a full round of chemotherapy, Linda was introduced to the CCAC and its support groups.

“It is now seven years later and I am still ‘No Evidence of Disease’.  Perhaps I am the exception, but I learned that the most important lesson here is to be your own advocate and I pass it along to anyone who will listen, thanks to the CCAC and the invaluable support they offered through CCRAN (CCAC support groups). I OWE THEM MY LIFE.

UntitledMarie Taurasi
Diagnosed Stage III rectal Cancer in January 2015

When Marie was diagnosed she had very few symptoms. But following a colonoscopy her world and that of her husband and two children (ages 13 and 17) came crashing down.
“Throughout this journey, with the education, support and guidance of the CCAC, I have learned a lot about this disease. Most importantly, I learned this is not just an old person’s disease! This disease affects men and women of all ages. It does not discriminate.

The CCAC is here for people like you and me. People who desperately require support, guidance and above all education, so that we can get through the ups and downs that we go through when battling this horrible disease.

I am so fortunate that I started my journey with the CCAC because without their help I would not be “cancer-free today”! What a gift they gave to me and to my precious children and husband! Thank you CCAC, for all the support and guidance you have given us. You truly are “Angels!”

197Werner Muehlemann
Diagnosed with Stage IV Colorectal Cancer at 28

When Werner went to see his doctor about some problems he was having he was told that he had nothing to worry about because he was young and in good shape. Following a few tests he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

“In that moment, I saw my life flash before my eyes – my career and dreams of getting married and starting a family vanishing.

The CCAC helped me acquire all the information that I needed to understand my treatments to follow in the months ahead and ultimately beat colorectal cancer. The CCAC also helped my family get the information they needed to support me in my long journey.

My dream for the future is that colorectal cancer screening becomes as routine as going to the dentist.”

Never Too Young for Colorectal Cancer

Never Too Young for Colorectal Cancer

NTY Coalition_final logo Colorectal cancer no longer discriminates on age. While colorectal cancer incidences and mortality rates in Canadians aged 50+ have been declining in recent years due to increased screening and surveillance programs, the opposite is unfortunately being reported for our younger population.

In the last few years, Canadian doctors have observed a rapid increase in the number of patients under age 50 with colorectal cancer. What makes it even more concerning is that they cannot explain why.

The study also found that younger patients are getting diagnoses at later stages making them harder to treat and leading to increasing fatalities. These shocking statistics reveal that there is more work to be done in terms of prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer in Canada – especially for young adults.

In the last year, the CCAC has partnered with the Never Too Young (“N2Y”) Coalition, an organization united to take action on young onset of colorectal cancer through action, education, and research. The Coalition includes medical professionals, patient advocacy organizations, cancer survivors and caregivers working to educate the public about this growing issue and to reduce the number of late stage young-onset colorectal cancer cases.

Together with the N2Y coalition, the CCAC provides support and information to young patients in Canada who have experienced early onset of the disease.

Young patients may not always understand the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer, which may delay their seeking medical attention. Symptoms of CRC can vary from blood in the stool, abdominal discomfort, constipation and much more.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, men are more at risk than women for the disease. Eating processed and red meats, a lack of dietary fiber, a lack of physical exercise, obesity, alcohol, smoking, diabetes and genetics are also identified as risk factors.

Younger patients should consider the following when speaking to their doctors about their inherited risk or symptoms for colorectal cancer:

Family Tree

About 10% of the population has a first degree relative with colon or rectal cancer. If it is evident in your family tree, it is recommended to start screening as early as the age of 25.

Lynch Syndrome

Changes in certain genes increase your risk of colon cancer.
Lynch Syndrome is the most common type of inherited colon cancer, accounting for about 2% of all colon cancer cases. Lynch syndrome is a mutation of a gene that is responsible for fixing errors in your DNA. Lynch Syndrome, also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), is an hereditary disorder caused by a genetic mutation in which affected individuals have a higher than normal chance of developing colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and various other types of aggressive cancers, often at a young age. To prevent colorectal cancer, people with Lynch Syndrome should undergo a colonoscopy every 1-2 years, starting in their twenties. Doing this will reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 77%.