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Halifax man is kicking cancer in the GUT

Get Up There (GUT) encourages more people to get screened for colorectal cancer


ark Gascoigne lost his father to colon cancer in 2008. Instead of turning a blind eye to the problem - colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Nova Scotia – Mark decided to do something about it. In March 2009, he got a small group of family and friends together and launched Get Up There, or GUT as it is more commonly referred to, in honour of the loved ones they had lost and to promote screening.

“My father was a big skier, so I chose to host GUT in the winter to pay homage to him,”said Mark. This year, four years since its inception, GUT more than doubled its original group of participants and raised more than $40,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. “It’s nice to see how people will rally around causes that are important to them and get behind your event

because they know it’s important to you,” he says. But for Mark, GUT is about more than raising money. “It’s important to make sure people really understand [the facts]” he explains. It’s through awareness movements like GUT and the Society’s Get Screened campaign that people are learning how screening tests are saving lives.”

“GUT is a public awareness movement, a fundraiser and annual event to raise awareness in Nova Scotia about colorectal cancer. The mission is to encourage prevention and reduce the stigma associated with screening,” said Mark. Like cancer, GUT is no walk in the park. Participants spend one day hiking or snowshoeing the 1000 vertical feet up Wentworth Mountain. When they reach the summit they ski, snowboard, snowshoe or hike back down and do it all over again!

Funds provided by donors help us raise cancer screening awareness and support much needed research too! To organize your own fundraising event call 1-800-639-0222.

This edition of Lifetimes is sponsored by Get Up There. The Newsletter of the Canadian Cancer Society

5826 South Street, Halifax, NS B3H 1S6 | 1 800 639-0222 |

LIFETIMES Colorectal cancer one of top three causes of cancer death, but there is hope Thanks to your support, the Canadian Cancer Society is raising screening awareness and saving lives from a preventable disease.


espite recent headlines announcing that Cancer Care Nova Scotia’s (CCNS) Colon Cancer Prevention Program is temporarily suspending its screening kit mail outs, the Canadian Cancer Society encourages you to participate in the home-based screening program.

test continues to be an effective tool for cancer prevention and detection.”

doctor if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms.

Cancer Care Nova Scotia expects it to be approximately six months before the kits are mailed out again. In the meantime, anyone who has concerns or possible symptoms of colon cancer should talk with their family doctor about the tests that are most appropriate for them.

“I was having definite symptoms for about three months. What you tend to do is go off to the drug store to buy stuff, and the problem gets alleviated for a few weeks and you think you’re ok but then the symptoms come back.”

CCNS confirmed there is a problem with the device used to process tests, not the home screening test Robert eventually went to see his itself. If you have already received doctor who was concerned enough a test don’t hesitate to complete it to refer him to a specialist. In June and send it in, and continue with 2008, he was diagnosed with rectal any recommended testing such as a “When the screening tests are cancer, a form of colorectal cancer. colonoscopy because it could save reinstated and you receive one from your life. Cancer Care Nova Scotia in the mail, After 28 rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, Robert underwent do your loved ones a favour and “Nova Scotia has been a leader in surgery and was given a stoma, an take the test and send it in. Sure it’s providing this type of screening opening from an area inside the a little bit intrusive, but this is about to the general public, and it has body to the outside, which was prevention,” said Robert Ganong, a proven very effective.” said Kelly Society volunteer and cancer survivor. necessary for seven months. Wilson, Manager of Government and Community Relations, Canadian Most colorectal cancers, which start “Because I am totally blind that Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division. in cells that line the inside of the posed a major challenge. This is “Cancer Care Nova Scotia is to be colon or the rectum, are preventable where my wife and her ongoing daily commended for their diligence in assistance were imperative. She is the and treatable if detected early. monitoring the program, and for most supportive person I could have taking steps to ensure the screening had during this process.” Robert encourages you to see a The Newsletter of the Canadian Cancer Society

5826 South Street, Halifax, NS B3H 1S6 | 1 800 639-0222 |

To receive this newsletter electronically, email Robert’s stoma was reconnected in May 2009, and in July he was able to return to work at the CNIB where he has been a counselor for individuals adjusting to vision loss for 26 years. “In a strange way, my cancer experience has given me a gift that I can use to help people with vision loss, and people experiencing cancer. In the face of adversity you use the same strength and the same determination regardless of whether you’re fighting cancer or experiencing vision loss.” A year post-treatment, Robert became a CancerConnection peer mentor. The program, funded by donors like you, matches people living with cancer with trained

volunteers who listen, provide hope, offer encouragement and share ideas for coping — all from their unique perspective as someone who’s been there. “You go through an experience like this and you can’t help but say to yourself, I’m one of the lucky ones. What can I do at this point in my life to encourage someone else who is going through the same situation?” Even with plans for retirement on the horizon in the next few years, Robert can’t envision his life without being able to help others. “If you retire on a Friday, Monday morning brings about quite a change. You have to be prepared for that. I’ll definitely do more volunteer

Thanks to donors, Nova Scotians like Robert Ganong have access to programs like CancerConnection to support them on their cancer journey.

The Newsletter of the Canadian Cancer Society

work with the Society and CNIB. Both of these organizations have played such huge roles in my life and I want to continue giving back.”

Screening Kits Cancer Care Nova Scotia’s Colon Cancer Prevention Program has temporarily suspended its screening kit mail outs. It recommends anyone who has concerns or possible symptoms of colon cancer should talk with their family doctor about the tests that are most appropriate for them. For more information call toll-free: 1-866-599-2267. Cancer Information Service (CIS) CIS is a national, toll-free service funded by society donors, which is available to cancer patients, caregivers, families and friends, the general public and healthcare professionals. By calling 1-888939-3333 you can access cancer information in English or French. Research Researchers and healthcare professionals take the knowledge gained from research studies and use it to develop better practices that will help prevent, detect and treat colorectal cancer, as well as improve the quality of life of people with colorectal cancer. Visit to learn more about the promising research initiatives that are funded by Canadian Cancer Society donors.

5826 South Street, Halifax, NS B3H 1S6 | 1 800 639-0222 |

LIFETIMES How is the Canadian Cancer Society fighting colorectal cancer? Kelly Wilson, the Society’s Manager of Government and Community Relations, wants to reduce your risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. is the Society fighting Q How colorectal cancer?


Our donors fund research to help us understand more about this cancer, and how to prevent it. We also promote the provincial athome colon screening program.

Q Does screening really work?

Q& A


Catching this cancer at an early or pre-cancerous stage will help reduce incidence and save lives. Colorectal cancers usually grow slowly. If these growths are detected early and removed, the disease is very treatable and curable — even preventable.

did Cancer Care Nova Scotia QWhy (CCNS) stop sending out screening kits if they work?


The home screening tests are still effective. According to the CCNS, there is a problem with the device that processes tests. CCNS is quickly working towards fixing this problem, and expects to be mailing kits again in approximately six months.

would you tell someone who is Q What reluctant to get screened?


It takes all of 10 minutes and that 10 minutes could save your life.

What would you like to know about the Canadian Cancer Society? Send your questions to and it could be featured in an upcoming edition of LIFETIMES.

Yes! I would like to make a donation to help in the fight for life!

Donate online at 5826 South St. Halifax, NS B3H 1S6 1-800-639-0222 | If your total giving is over $200 in the last 12 months your name may appear as shown on this receipt in our loyal donor list. If you do not want your name to appear please call the Halifax office, toll free at 1-800-639-0222. Receipts will be issued by December 31, 2013.

Charitable Number 118829803RR009

Lifetimes Spring 2013 Edition  

The official newsletter of the Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia Division

Lifetimes Spring 2013 Edition  

The official newsletter of the Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia Division