Dr. Anke Rhein from KDFN’s Natsékhi Kų̀ Health Centre advises on how you can take your health in your hands by keeping up to date with your cancer screening tests.
Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada. An estimated two in five Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer and about one in four will die. If detected early, there are effective treatments to cure it.
There are three main cancer screening tests.
PAP TESTS SCREEN FOR CERVICAL CANCER
Anyone with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 69 should be screened for cervical cancer every three years.
Pap tests look for abnormal cells before they become cancerous. If found and treated early, cervical cancer can be stopped.
An abnormal result doesn’t mean you have cancer, but it’s important to follow up with your healthcare provider.
Get a Pap test by contacting:
1. Your family doctor (if you have one)
2. Yukon Sexual Health Clinic. Phone 867-393-6635. (This clinic offers sexual and reproductive health services in the Yukon to all genders and orientations.)
3. Yukon Women’s MidLife Health Clinic. Phone 867-633-3080. (This clinic offers health care and support to women approaching, experiencing or are beyond menopause.)
MAMMOGRAMS SCREEN FOR BREAST CANCER
Mammograms are x-rays of the breast that look for hidden signs of cancer. The test is done in private by a trained technician.
When to get a mammogram
If you’re a woman:
• Age 40 to 49 with no family history of breast cancer talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need a mammogram.
• Age 40 to 74 with a close relative (mother, daughter, sister) with breast cancer get a mammogram every year.
• Age 50 to 74 with no family history of breast cancer get a mammogram every two years.
• Age 75+ talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need a mammogram.
But, If you have any symptoms, including a lump or nipple discharge, at any age contact your healthcare provider immediately to determine if other testing is required.
FIT TEST CHECKS FOR COLON CANCER
Everyone aged 50 to 74 should get screened for colon cancer every two years with the FIT test, even if you have no symptoms.
If you’ve had a colonoscopy that found adenomas (polyps) or if you have a family history of colon cancer, you need a colonoscopy and to see your healthcare provider.
FIT looks for blood in your stool which can be a sign of pre-cancer. The test can be done in the comfort of your own house using a take-home kit.
If you’re NOT up to date with your cancer screening, see your healthcare provider or contact KDFN’s Natsékhi Kų̀ Health Centre to arrange testing.