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

How Much Is Enough? Less is More!

How Much Is Enough? Less is More!

1240033_909293612475960_3144498123480991283_n We’ve all been guilty of using father time as an excuse for skipping on exercise but experts say there is a misconception about how much exercise is really needed at one time. Instead of investing an hour in one shot, you can just as easily increase your fitness level by fitting in 10 minute intervals of exercise throughout the day.

According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, for adults aged 18-64 to achieve health benefits they should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate – to vigorous – intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. It is also beneficial to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least 2 days per week.

Also you don’t need to join a fancy gym or buy pricey home equipment to build a good fitness program either. If you can’t do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways, by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or speed up your household chores.

However, to really burn calories and lose weight (if that is your goal) you’ll want to get your heart pumping and break a sweat. The key thing to remember is to pace yourself, especially if you are just a beginner.

At the Gym, my top recommendation is a Spinning class – the pace can be set by the individual and using the bike is easy on the knees (a key complaint for many beginner or novice trainees). For those at home workouts I use a free app called let’s WOD Workout of the day. It’s basically a workout through a deck of cards. Choose four of your fave exercises (one per suit) and do the reps as they randomly come up on your phone until the pack is complete. Take breaks as you need to and try to pick 4 exercises that target different parts of the body. Here are a few suggestions to kick you off:

image1 Squats or Jump Squats for higher intensity
Push-ups (on your knees optional)
Tricep dips off a chair
Shoulder Press
Calve Raises
Mountain climbers

In 2016 Wise up to the Benefits of Exercise & Get Physical!

Being active is one of the preventative measures that you can take to help prevent colon cancer, plus it just makes you feel better all around. To help you get on track for 2016, we have created a 3 part blog post to get informed and hopefully you’ll share it with your loved ones!

get-fit-2016With the New Year in full gear, we all want to feel and look better. For most of us this meant incorporating regular exercise into our resolution plans – but have you stepped up to the plate yet? Whether you love it or hate it, the reality is incorporating even small amounts into your daily routine can reap a ton of benefits, some of which may even surprise you!

We’ve all heard that regular exercise and physical activity are beneficial for weight management and can vastly improve the quality of our lives but what else? And how much is enough?

Exercise Benefits:

It Helps You Manage Your Weight

The first rule to any weight loss program is to burn more calories than you consume, and physical activity can help you do that. While cardiovascular exercise view site is both ideal for weight loss and general physical health don’t toss strength training aside. By increasing your muscle mass, you increase your calorie-burning metabolism. This means that by replacing fat with muscle, your body will burn more calories at rest.

It Boosts Your Energy Levels

Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise oxygenates the blood and delivers nutrients to tissues, revving up the cardiovascular system and boosting circulation. That means your heart and lungs don’t need to work as hard to function.

It Combats Chronic Disease

No matter what your current weight, being can active has an important role on our overall health, especially for our hearts. It boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Other health problems and concerns that can be addressed by a regular exercise regime include; stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer (including colon), and arthritis.

It Improves Your Mood

Simply put, exercise view site is the best natural stress reliever out there. Whether you push it in an intense spinning class, go for a walk or stretch it out in a mind-body combination yoga workout, you’ll feel better and more relaxed afterwards. Why? Physical activity stimulates the release of feel-good brain chemicals like endorphins. Plus using your muscles allows you to rid them of tension. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

It Promotes Better Sleep

Sleep struggles? Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep.

It Enhances your Sex Life!

Does your partner hear the words not tonight often because of fatigue or your feelings of low sex appeal? Regular physical activity can increase your energy and help you look and feel better about your body image, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there’s more to it than that. Regular physical activity for women can lead to enhanced arousal. And for men, it can help reduce issues of erectile dysfunction.

Nest Week’s article:

How Much Is Enough? Less is More!




Now that you’ve shaved off your Movember mustache, we invite you to take it one step further this month and consider going full facial.

Even though they itch a bit in the early days and make soup a questionable lunchtime choice, real men still grow beards. Why? Because real men like to feel like bears. Grizzly bears. Big, heaving, honey guzzling grizzly bears. The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) is inviting real men to take part in Decembeard Canada and raise money to help those affected by colorectal cancer by getting sponsored to, you guessed it – grow a beard!

The CCAC is delighted to announce that our beard ambassador for this year’s campaign will be linebacker Byron Archambault of the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Ladies, don’t worry you can get involved by supporting your men through sponsorships, campaign promotion or you can also take part by faking, making, or painting a beard – for this month bearded ladies aren’t restricted to circus tours. Have fun with it, post photos of yourselves sporting an artificial or drawn-on beard!

Decembeard is a global initiative. Launched in 2012 by our partner, Beating Bowel Cancer UK, Decembeard™ was created as a quirky way to help eliminate the stigma associated with colorectal cancer and create colonversation about colon cancer. This year, we join our UK, New Zealand, and Australian friends to beard up for colorectal cancer. Together we are raising awareness of the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada.

Each year, 25,100 people are diagnosed with the disease and the survival rate in Canada is 68% – with your help we can do better. This December we are hoping to raise $100,000 to fund our work helping and supporting people with colorectal cancer and their families, and raising awareness of the disease, its symptoms and the need for early diagnosis.

How to sign up:

Decembeard Canada is simple… no marathon to run, no mountain to climb, just sign up to grow a beard and help by raising funds to help those touched by colorectal cancer. Register now at and set up your fundraising page.

Starting December 1st, grow your beard and discover how handsome you can be. Make sure to share your pictures with us using #DecembeardCanada! You could get featured as our Beard of the Week and win a prize for best beard. Biotherm Homme will be supporting our campaign with awesome prizes all Decembeard long.

So what are you waiting for, get growing!

Giant Colon at the Rama First Nation’s 30th annual health fair

A wide variety of health and safety exhibits, including The Giant Colon, provided a bevy of important information to area residents in Rama Ontario on Thursday September 24, 2015.

With a theme focused on “Community Learning for Healthy Living,” the Rama First Nation’s 30th annual health fair at the Rama MASK featured close to 70 exhibits designed to provide visitors with healthy lifestyle tips and information about various diseases. Over 450 people attended the fair.

There were also reflexology, massage therapy, blood-pressure checks and foot assessments exhibits along with mini-workshops, including yoga, CPR and use of traditional medicines.
A delicious and healthy hot buffet lunch was served to all in attendance.

Thanks to all the organizers and fundraisers who made this event possible.