Archive for March, 2016

March Awareness Month Comes to a Close – Words From Ministers Around the Country

March Awareness Month Comes to a Close – Words From Ministers Around the Country

As March awareness month comes to a close, we would like to reflect upon our reach and the impact these campaigns have on the lives of Canadians throughout the country. More than ever this year, the international and national community has come together to bring more awareness to colorectal cancer everywhere. We thank all of our supporters/followers for helping to spread the word and hope that you will continue to do – There is still work to be done. Continue to follow us and the social media platforms of our partners: N2Y & Foods That Fight. And continue to share, not only our content but also that of your own. Please send us private messages on any news stories that you have or survivor stories of your own. You are not alone, WE are in this fight together and will one day be able proudly say that WE BEAT THIS DISEASE TOGETHER!

INFOGRAPHIC Ministers of Health 2016 FINAL

Another Blue Day Leads to More Awareness

The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada would like to thank the employees of Pharmascience and Pendopharm for showing their continued support for a future free of colon cancer by participating in Dress in Blue Day at their head office in Montreal on March 17th. Over 200 employees passed by our booth to learn more about colorectal cancer prevention and screening.

No Shame Here: Study finds only one in four Canadians embarrassed  about colorectal cancer screening

No Shame Here: Study finds only one in four Canadians embarrassed about colorectal cancer screening

Getenough Despite Canadians’ reputation for being culturally conservative — even reserved compared to other nationalities — a new survey by Ipsos conducted for the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada and Dairy Farmers of Canada has found that one in four Canadians would find the screening process for specific cancers embarrassing. With March being Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to address the importance of getting screened regularly, as 90 per cent of colorectal cancer cases can be cured when detected at an early stage. Screening is particularly crucial if you are over the age of 50 – earlier if you have a family history or other risk factors. Prevention tactics include consuming a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetable, whole grains, legumes and milk.

“The World Cancer Research Funds recognizes that consuming milk is associated with a reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer,” says Nathalie Savoie, RD, Dairy Farmers of Canada. An easy way to ensure you are consuming the recommended two to three servings is to start your day off with a dairy-rich breakfast. “Incorporating milk into breakfast items such as smoothies, oatmeal and cereal is a simple way to increase your dairy intake.”

Make sure that you are getting enough of what you need by using THE GET ENOUGH HELPER APP. This app allows you to track what you eat. Plus, for every day you use the app, Dairy Farmers of Canada makes a $1 donation to the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada.

Stores of Hope: Frank Formusa – Stage IV Testimonial

Stores of Hope: Frank Formusa – Stage IV Testimonial

UntitledMy name is Frank Formusa. Four years ago, at age 66, I began my journey with cancer. Having a long history of Crohn’s Disease that had been in remission for several years, I was sent for a colonoscopy after experiencing periodic but more frequent stomach cramps and discomfort. To me, this was just another routine colonoscopy and I was not prepared for the doctor to tell me I had a tumour in my bowel. I thought this was the worst possible diagnosis until after my surgery when I was told there were metastases to the liver and I was now at stage 4.
The rounds of chemotherapy began. Staff were supportive, information was provided and side effects were discussed. However, it seemed a very lonely journey and there were just so many questions and seemingly few answers. Something was missing but I didn’t know what.

It was in the fall of 2012 when my Oncologist suggested that I may be a candidate for a Hepatic Arterial Infusion Pump where a small pump can be inserted under the skin to allow chemo to be delivered directly into the liver. This procedure would not be passed for use in Canada at Sunnybrook Hospital for another 8 months so the decision was made for me to have this surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. I wrote to various Provincial and Federal agencies to advocate for the procedure to be done in Canada and in doing so, my Oncologist suggested I send a copy of my letters to Mr. Barry Stein, the CEO of the CCAC (Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada). Mr. Stein contacted me and shared his own successful personal journey with colon cancer and made my wife and I aware of the Toronto CCAC support groups conducted by Filomena Servidio-Italiano.

It was in these monthly meetings that I found what had been missing – talking to people who really understood my thoughts and concerns because they had been there, having questions answered, suggestions made and solutions found. The research portion of the meetings are invaluable as suddenly I became aware of procedures being done that I had never heard of, pilot studies of promising medications I could be a candidate for, new medications now on the market and information I needed to know to be as informed as I could be about my disease. Throughout it all, Filomena was there, in person or by email or phone to teach, to share, to suggest and to support. She made the load lighter by listening and genuinely caring.

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 because of Filomena.

My journey continues. But now it continues with people I have learned not only to share with and care for but to laugh with. What a gift!

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.

Novartis Goes Blue For Colorectal Cancer – Will You?

Novartis Goes Blue For Colorectal Cancer – Will You?

Novartis Group Photo Dress in Blue

On Friday, March 4th, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. participated in “Dress in Blue Day”, an annual awareness campaign put on by the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. Novartis associates donned various shades of blue to show their support for Colorectal Cancer patients and their families. They were also able to pick up fact sheets and information booklets so they could learn more about this deadly disease. Thank you to the 60+ employees who stopped by for a group photo and to those who generously donated to the cause.

Giant Colon Tour at Pen Centre in St. Catharines Ontario

Giant Colon Tour at Pen Centre in St. Catharines Ontario

PenCentre4Niagara Health System’s (NHS) Colorectal Screening Program, in partnership with Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton, brought the Giant Colon Tour to the Pen Centre in St. Catharines Ontario as part of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada’s (CCAC) pink inflatable walk-through reproduction of the human colon is 40 feet long and eight feet high. The exhibit attracted over 2,300 visitors on Friday March 4th and Saturday March 5th, 2016.
The NHS partnered with The Giant Colon Tour, an educational exhibit part of the CCAC campaign that seeks to educate Canadians that this disease is preventable, treatable and beatable.
A team of registered nurses and health promotion specialists from Niagara Health System’s Endoscopy department were on hand to offer information about screening and prevention. Dr. Meghan Davis, CCO Regional Primary Care Lead and Dr. Pierre Major, the Chair of the CCAC’s Medical Advisory Board were also on hand to speak to the numerous visitors from the Niagara Region.
The message on prevention and screening reached thousands more in the region due to the extensive media coverage that was orchestrated by NHS Communications Specialist Steven Gallagher. Below are the links to some of the coverage:

CHCH TV story/video
TV Cogeco story/video
Niagara This Week story

A special thanks to Ruth Peters (NHS) and Andi Sinclair (Brock University), who were instrumental in bringing The Giant Colon Tour to the region for the second time since 2010.

More photos:

Survivor Story – Marie Taurasi

Survivor Story – Marie Taurasi

UntitledMy name is Marie Taurasi, I am 44 years old and I was diagnosed with Stage III rectal Cancer in January 2015.
My story dates back to November 2014. I had very few symptoms, but I asked my doctor to check it out. I underwent a colonoscopy and that is when my world came crashing down. I was told that I had Stage III rectal cancer. All I could think about was my husband and two children (ages 13 and 17). What were they feeling? What is going to happen to me? My thirteen year old daughter looked into my eyes with tears and said “Mom, are you going to die?” My heart sank, my life and world as I had known it was shattered. This could not be happening to me…..Cancer??
Thankfully a friend introduced me to my “Angel”, Filomena Servidio-Italiano from the CCAC. I immediately called her and from the moment we spoke I knew I was in the best hands possible. She calmed me down and educated me on my disease, which I knew nothing about. I had heard a little about colorectal cancer, but never truly understood it. She changed all that. She then referred me to the best cancer centre and oncologists.
Once my treatment schedule was put in place, I underwent radiation and chemotherapy in March 2015. In July, I underwent surgery and had my tumour removed. After six weeks, I had some additional chemotherapy.
Filomena was there from the very beginning, offering guidance and support day and night. Without her I would not be where I am today! I am also grateful to have such an amazing and supportive husband and two wonderful children. The on-going support of family and friends has been amazing, helping me throughout this difficult time.
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. We need to educate ourselves and to be pro-active. We need to eat healthy, exercise and assume a healthy lifestyle and of course get screened, so that we can prevent colorectal cancer. Did you know that even if you had colon cancer, adopting healthy lifestyles can also help prevent a recurrence of the disease?
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. The CCAC furnishes patients and caregivers with valuable information and monthly support groups where we are able to tell our stories and receive up to date information about the most current therapies designed to help us.

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”!

“They have made a huge difference in my life……they gave it back to me!!” Now I am giving back to the CCAC by throwing them a massive fundraiser Gala on Saturday, June 4th at Le Parc Banquet Hall in Thornhill. Won’t you join me in honoring the CCAC that evening? Please contact me at for details regarding this spectacular event.

Linda Wilkins – Stage IV Patient Survivor Story

Linda Wilkins – Stage IV Patient Survivor Story

IMG_0289 My name is Linda Wilkins and I am 70 years young, in no small measure because of the help I received from the CCAC and its CCRAN support group headed up by Filomena Servidio-Italiano.

I was diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer in August 2005. I had surgery the following November to remove the primary tumour along with about 75 percent of my colon, followed by a full round of chemotherapy.

Then in March of the following year I had an operation to remove a metastasis in my right lung, followed by more chemo.

It was then discovered that I had an ‘inoperable’ tumour on the right side of my chest wall and although we tried a round of radiation and more chemo I was told by my oncologist that I would be considered palliative.

Until this point I was not made aware of the CCAC or their CCRAN support group that had recently been formed. I was just accepting the doctor’s prognosis verbatim. Luckily I overheard a gentleman talking in the clinic about the CCRAN information/support group and of his personal treatment. So, I asked him a few questions and he advised me to come to a meeting the following Sunday.

At the CCRAN monthly meetings each of us talk about our individual situations and then we exchange ideas of how to help each other with our struggles and speak to our successes as well. Filomena brings a wealth of research information to each meeting and brings us up-to-date and explains in detail the latest findings. We come away empowered with more and more knowledge each time.

And that is where my cancer journey got on the right track. I learned so much from that point on and never looked back. I did get the Avastin treatment in Buffalo and then I was able to get the ‘inoperable’ operation at Toronto General Hospital with Filomena’s referral to the right thoracic surgeon.

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.


Yours sincerely,
Linda Wilkins

March Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

DIB EN March is the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month when we strive to raise awareness about the importance of screening and offer our support to those touched by the disease. Whether you are connected to the disease as a patient, family member, caregiver, survivor, friend of someone touched by the disease, or not, this applies to you.

“This March, we want to make you aware that colorectal cancer can touch you just as easily as it did me, silently and with hardly any symptoms. It is one disease that does not discriminate and can touch anyone,” said Barry D. Stein president of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (“CCAC”).

Most people are unaware that the disease is Preventable, Treatable, and Beatable. Those affected know the importance of informing and educating the public on the possibilities of prevention, and of a cure when caught early.

Colorectal cancer affects everyone, young and old, male or female. Although the prevalence of the disease increases at about 50 years old, many young individuals are touched by the disease, and we make a point in offering them support.

“I was diagnosed with advanced disease when I was 40 in 1995, said Stein, when treatments were limited and information and support were next to none. I remember receiving a pat on the shoulder, sad looks and expressions of sympathy. We have come a long way since then, but I am always surprised how many people are diagnosed even younger than I was.”

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in Canada, yet it can be detected through simple screening tests. Most provinces have implemented screening programs and regularly use fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) or fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) for any person over 50 years old. Positive results are referred for a colonoscopy. Other screening options are available based on the recommendation of a physician, but don’t wait for the appearance of symptoms, by then it may already be too late.

This month, in celebration of a healthy lifestyle and primary prevention, we will be introducing a new program Foods That Fight Cancer. We have also aligned with our alliance partners all over the world to promote the Never Too Young (N2Y) campaign supporting young patients diagnosed with the disease.

Throughout the month, we will feature new articles on colorectal cancer on our Website, Facebook pages, Twitter account and other media, and of course our ads and You Tube videos will be back again so you can “bear” out the month.

A great way to participate in March awareness month is to organize a “Dress in Blue” day at your work place. Dress in Blue events encourage employees to dress in blue at work on March 4th (or any other given day in March) to spread awareness, support for patients, and raise funds for important CCAC programs so that we can continue to help you. Its simple to do. Get a poster, register online and go to work dressed in blue. For more information and to register for your workplace, see:

So help us help you by spreading the word and saving lives!

About colon cancer Colorectal cancer – cancer of the colon or rectum – is the second leading cause of cancer deaths overall in men and women in Canada. Though highly preventable and curable when detected early, an estimated 25,100 Canadians were diagnosed with colorectal cancer last year. One in 14 men and one in 16 women are expected to develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. Sadly, over 9,400 men and women will die from colorectal cancer this year in Canada.

About CCAC

The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is the country’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness and educating Canadians about colorectal cancer, supporting patients and their families and advocating on their behalf. For up-to-date information on colorectal cancer call us toll-free 1.877.50.COLON (26566) to order free copies of helpful educational materials.

Twitter link:
Facebook pages:

For interviews contact: Isabella Noubani
Email: Tel: 514.875.7745 ext.223 Cell: 514.692.2385

Giant Colon going to Pen Centre in St. Catherines, Ontario

Giant Colon going to Pen Centre in St. Catherines, Ontario

dominic fuizzotto photographywww.domphoto.comtel. 514.593.9080

Shoppers will have more than deals and merchandise to attract their attention at the Pen Centre on Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5.

They’ll also have a unique opportunity to walk through a giant colon to learn about colorectal cancer and other diseases of the colon.

Niagara Health System’s Colorectal Screening Program, in partnership with Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton, is bringing the Giant Colon Tour to the St. Catharines shopping mall as part of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada’s (CCAC) pink inflatable walk-through reproduction of the human colon is 40 feet long and eight feet high.

The NHS has partnered with The Giant Colon Tour, an educational exhibit part of the CCAC campaign that seeks to educate Canadians that this disease is preventable, treatable and beatable.
A team of registered nurses and health promotion Specialists from Niagara Health System’s Endoscopy department will be on hand to offer information about screening, a simple process that helps to identify the risk for developing cancer.

The CCAC’s visiting professor Dr. Preventino – a puppet – will greet all visitors and guide them on their voyage through The Giant Colon. Visitors will view everything on a large scale, from Giant Hemorrhoids to Giant Polyps and much more.

While exploring The Giant Colon, Dr. Preventino will provide visitors with healthy lifestyle tips and explanations of the various diseases on interactive media screens.

unnamed Giant Colon Tour details:
Where: Pen Centre, St. Catharines
When: Friday, March 4 from 10 a.m. to 9 pm. and Saturday, March 5 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Why: To raise awareness about colorectal cancer and the importance of regular screening.

For more information about Niagara Health System’s Colorectal Screening Program, click here