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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Delays in cancer care resulting from COVID-19 are expected to substantially increase mortality from colorectal cancer across Canada. Colorectal Cancer Canada (CCC) launches advocacy campaign 'Ready For The Next Round'.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, an important time to remember and support all those touched by colorectal cancer and a time to remind Canadians that colorectal cancer is Preventable, Treatable, and Beatable, if caught in a timely manner.

READY FOR THE NEXT ROUND This has been a particularly challenging year for all Canadians, but especially so for cancer patients and those awaiting diagnosis and treatment. "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is predicted that we will see a large increase of advanced colorectal cancers. This is due to periodic suspensions of colorectal cancer screening programs, deferred treatment and cancer care, coupled with a reluctance of individuals to seek help when experiencing symptoms of colorectal cancer. Ultimately, this will result in an increase in mortality from the disease. We are only beginning to experience the consequences of the backlog of undiagnosed and untreated patients and we need to do everything possible to help them and their families, including finding new solutions," said Barry D. Stein president and CEO of Colorectal Cancer Canada.

To address this issue, Colorectal Cancer Canada teamed up with Dr. Darren Brenner and Dr. Timothy Hanna to launch a campaign "Ready For the Next Round" to find innovative solutions to build a more resilient cancer care system that will minimize the impact on cancer care delivery the next time a crisis hits. "We have to be ready for the next national crisis, we need to be innovative, collaborative, and nimble. Canadians are looking for positive and proactive solutions," said Dr. Brenner. "We have a golden opportunity to take what we've learned and plan ahead so that we are prepared for the next time we are faced with a crisis, " said Dr. Hanna.

Patients, caregivers and health professionals, as well as the public at large, are invited to provide their ideas and comments by joining the conversation with CCC at: jointheconversation@colorectalcancercanada.com

The "Ready For The Next Round" campaign video can be seen at: www.colorectalcancercanada.com/ready

SUPPORT FOR PATIENTS Colorectal Cancer Canada is also launching virtual monthly support groups nationally on March 1st, to help support patients and their caregivers. "Patient and caregiver support is at the heart of all our programs," says Chana Cohen, Patient Support Specialist at Colorectal Cancer Canada. "As a patient organization, we know the stress and anxiety that patients and their families endure, especially during these troubling times. Patients and their families have to deal with the stress of their diagnosis and treatment, and they now have the added complications brought on by the pandemic," she adds. Our monthly patient support groups will help patients and their caregivers come together to support each other, culminating with a virtual Colorectal Cancer Community Conference May 18-19.

Cancer patients and their caregivers are encouraged to contact Chana Cohen to register for support and the conference at: chanac@colorectalcancercanada.com

About Colorectal Cancer Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Canada for men and women combined. In 2020, approximately 26,900 Canadians were diagnosed with the disease and about 9,700 individuals died from it. A Canadian study in the BMJi suggested that with a four week delay in surgical treatment, mortality from colon cancer will increase by 6%, and even more with longer delays. For colorectal cancer chemotherapy, the increase in mortality was 13%.