Help your doctor help you
(NC)—For Dr. Praveen Bansal, the best approach to practicing medicine is treating people before they get sick.
“I advocate practicing “health care” not “sick care,” says Dr. Bansal, Regional Primary Care Lead for the Mississauga Halton/Central West Regional Cancer Program. “That's why I encourage patients to visit their doctor when they are well, so that we can ensure they stay healthy.”
One aspect of his patients' health that he knows is not top-of-mind is cancer screening, especially colorectal cancer screening. Screening for colorectal cancer is a great example of “health care” because even though there are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, screening can detect the cancer in this early stage, when treatment is most effective. In fact, a person with colorectal cancer has a 90 per cent chance of being cured if the cancer is caught early.
To be proactive about colorectal cancer screening, Dr. Bansal refers his male and female patients who are 50 and over to the ColonCancerCheck program, Canada's first organized, province-wide colorectal cancer screening program. As part of the program, eligible patients are invited and encouraged to get screened.
To that end, while some patients may think that they need to have a colonoscopy, Dr. Bansal stresses that the best way for Ontario men and women 50 to 74 years of age who are at average risk for colorectal cancer to be screened is with a take-home kit. The fecal occult blood test (FOBT) kit is available from family physicians and nurse practitioners and should be completed every two years. Those without a family physician or nurse practitioner can get a kit from a local pharmacy or contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-828-9213. People with a family history of colorectal cancer in a parent, brother or sister should get screened by colonoscopy.
For more information on screening, visit www.ontario.ca/screenforlife.
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