Cancer screening is for healthy people who do not have any symptoms of illness. Screening tests allow healthcare providers to find cancer sooner before the patient experiences any signs or symptoms.
It is important for individuals and healthcare providers to be able to recognize possible warning signs of cancer and act quickly. Finding cancer early, especially before the appearance of any signs or symptoms, improves the likelihood of successful treatment and can save your life. Early signs of cancer include lumps, sores that do not heal, unusual bleeding, and persistent indigestion.
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In the NWT, there are screening guidelines and programs for three (3) cancers:
NWT residents have lower participation rates in routine cancer screening than other Canadians. In 2011 and 2012:
- 55% of eligible residents had a mammogram;
- 53% of eligible residents had a Pap test, and
- only 20% of eligible residents had a screening test for colorectal cancer.
If you or a family member has already had cancer, or you are experiencing any unusual signs or symptoms, discuss your options for cancer screening with your primary healthcare provider. You could be eligible for different screening tests, or screening at an earlier age.