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Improved testing for colon, breast cancer now available in Manitoba: minister

Health Minister Erin Selby

MELISSA TAIT / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Health Minister Erin Selby

New tests to identify people at a greater risk for inherited colon cancer and other types of cancers are now in place in Manitoba, Health Minister Erin Selby said today.

The new procedures include testing for Lynch syndrome, a disorder that increases the risk of developing cancer. All colorectal cancer surgery patients 70 years and younger will receive testing for Lynch syndrome.

"This testing will give patients, their families and their physicians the information they need to make informed decisions about treatment options, risk factors and a lifetime care plan," Selby said in a news release.

Diagnostic Services Manitoba, responsible for Manitoba's public laboratory and rural diagnostic imaging services, is now offering these new tests. Genetic testing for breast cancer is also available and further expansion of genetic screening for other forms of cancer, such as melanomas and lung cancer, is being explored, Selby said.

Patients who have inherited the Lynch syndrome gene have up to a 60 per cent risk of developing colorectal cancer at some point over the course of their life. Women with Lynch syndrome have up to a 60 per cent risk of developing endometrial cancer over the course of their life.

"Detection of colon cancer at its earliest stage means a 90 per cent survival rate," said Dr. Sri Navaratnam, president and chief executive officer of CancerCare Manitoba.

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