Screening and Early Detection

Cancer screening is for healthy people who do not have any symptoms of illness. Screening tests allow health care providers to find cancer before the patient experiences signs or symptoms.  

It is important for individuals and health care providers to be able to recognize possible warnings 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 cancers:  

  1. Breast Cancer Screening
  2. Cervical Cancer Screening
  3. Colorectal Cancer Screening 

NWT residents have lower participation rates in routine cancer screening programs than other Canadians. In 2011 and 2012:

  • 55% of eligible women had a mammogram;
  • 53% of eligible women had a Pap test; and
  • only 20% of eligible men and women 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 health care provider. You could be eligible for different screening tests, or screening at an earlier age.