Colorectal cancer screening pilot program to expand within 6 months
Health minister responds to MLA who asked when program will move beyond 3 communities initially announced
Uqqummiut MLA Mary Killiktee wants to see a new colorectal screening program travel to the communities she represents.
Killiktee, whose riding includes Clyde River and Qikiqtarjuaq, questioned Health Minister John Main Monday in the legislative assembly about colorectal and other cancer screening services in the territory.
The Health Department recently launched a pilot program for colorectal cancer screening across three communities, announced by Main in the legislative assembly Feb. 27.
The pilot runs in the communities of Gjoa Haven from March 3 to 9, Arviat from March 12 to 17, and Pond Inlet from March 19 to 25.
Killiktee asked Main when the program will be expanded to other Nunavut communities. Main said he hopes that will happen within the next six months.
Killiktee also asked about the availability of other regular cancer screening programs such as those that detect cervical cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer.
“In terms of the longer-term vision, we absolutely want to put in place additional types of screening programs,” Main said in his response.
Currently, cancer screening takes place in Nunavut communities when health-care professionals flag certain things. Main said the Health Department is moving toward a more “systemic” approach, with long-term cancer screening programs across the communities.
“It would be incumbent on the department to develop a business case — as we did for the colorectal cancer screening program — and get that business case proved through the Department of Finance and then through the house,” Main said.
“We are wanting to go in that direction eventually and colorectal cancer screening has been chosen as the first one to work on.”
The colorectal cancer screening pilot program in Nunavut is designed to screen people between the ages of 50 and 74 who are at average risk for colorectal cancer, by providing a simple-to-use at-home screening test.
“Nunavut has high rates of colorectal cancer and this program is one way the department is being proactive in its approach to improve the health of Nunavummiut,” Main said when he announced the program in February.
Following the pilot programs, he said the department will work to roll out the screening activities across the territory.