As we prepare for this year’s 6th Annual Giants Head Grind – Christopher Walker Memorial Race I will never forget the reason this race began. Losing, our son Chris to Colorectal Cancer, our otherwise healthy, fit, world by the tail child, to this dreadful disease carries heartbreak and heartache that never ever takes a time out.
But I will also tell you that every participant, volunteer, sponsor and supporter of the Giants Head Grind helps to soothe the sadness in ways that words will never describe. You, taking the time to join us in whatever way you can is something extraordinary and a gift that we are more than grateful for. Our family does this event in Chris’s memory, but everyone has their own reason to take part. Whether supporting someone currently living with cancer, celebrating with those that have left cancer behind or remembering those that are gone too soon, this race is your race. Thank you, thank you, so very much.
One of our goals is to continue to raise awareness of Colorectal Cancer in all persons, but particularly in younger people who, until recently, were not considered to be likely candidates for this type of cancer. With the permission of Barry Stein, President and CEO of Colorectal Cancer Canada here is the most recent update on early detection tests for a type of cancer that is not widely talked about but is taking far too many far too soon.
In the area of early Detection of Colorectal Cancers, …things are happening, but they are happening far too slowly.
The Colonoscopy remains the Gold Standard for actual confirmation of what is really happening in your colon. Without question, it is an invasive procedure and difficult to get unless you are presenting specific symptoms or are in a high-risk group.
While it is clear that early detection is critical in saving lives for those with colorectal cancers it is the hope that less invasive tests more easily administered will be the answer.
There are some promising tests on the horizon according to our friend and Colon Cancer survivor Barry Stein. Barry is the President and CEO of Colorectal Cancer Canada and has been outspoken on the need for early detection in Canada for several decades now.
A number of blood tests have been developed which Barry refers to as “Executive Tests”; they are costly and as yet don’t have clinical trial back up. Of course, the FIT Test, which has been used for several years, is a well-regarded option and while is an easy test to take at home, it is still difficult to convince most general practitioners to order this test without plausible cause. In the US there is also a DNA test that is covered by some insurers and promoted by an organization called Exact Sciences. In all of these cases, a positive result means a colonoscopy, which, while invasive is the only way to make positive confirmation of the presence of cancer.
In Alberta, a new urine test developed by the late Dr. Fedorek appears to be gaining attention, however much more data is still required before it may become widely available.
Early detection is critical, it is the key to saving lives and it is through easily administered tests such as the ones noted that it is hoped more individuals will know much sooner, they are, in fact dealing with colorectal cancer and be in a better position to fight and win.
We are climbing the Giant May 18th in an effort to ensure more attention is brought to finding and fighting Colorectal Cancer Early, preventing life-ending diagnosis and saving lives old and young. But, we are climbing a bigger Giant everyday as we continue to push for more and better screening to stop colorectal cancer dead in its tracks.