Take Care of Your Colon

Many of you have asked for another copy of the letter Tom wrote for last years registration kit.

Your Colon… “Out of sight should never mean out of mind”…

Colon Cancer has changed our families and many of our friend’s lives forever. I first met Chris when he was young boy and over the years watched him develop into an accomplished student, athlete and successful young man. Chris was a contributor, he was a difference maker, his passing is a loss to many but mostly to our family…he was my stepson.

Most of you know me, I am Tom Matthews and I first met Chris when he was only four years old. He was the guy that did it right, read the rules, played by the rules, took life seriously, sometimes too seriously …except of course when he didn’t… and likely we didn’t know too much about that, after all we were the parents.

Since Chris’s death on May 23rd, 2013 I have been trying to figure out how this could possibly have happened, what happened, and how to better understand this disease, this cancer, this terrible and fast moving cancer.

What follows is what I know so far and trust me I will continue to search for answers. I hope you will take the time and take seriously the information that is being shared with you regarding Colorectal Cancer and most importantly the need for all of us to push for diagnostics and early detection.



Every week:

  • 423 Canadians are diagnosed with colorectal cancer
  • 175 Canadians on average die from colorectal cancer


Colorectal Cancer:

  • Is the second leading cause of death from cancer in both men and women
  • Is only surpassed by death from lung cancer
  • Kills more Canadians than Breast and Prostate Cancer combined



  • • If diagnosed in stage 1 or stage 2 colorectal cancer is almost 90% curable

So connect the dots…Colorectal Cancer is 90% curable… and yet Colorectal Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death from cancer in this country…what’s wrong with this statement, in my opinion…. everything.


In BC and Alberta:

  • Medical protocol directs physicians requisition a colonoscopy for persons under the age of 60 only if there are symptoms including blood in the stool or immediate family history of colorectal cancer. Note that immediate history means parents and grandparents and does not extend to aunts/uncles/cousins.
  • Medical protocol will not permit the requisition of a FIT TEST (which is a lab test to determine if there is any blood in the stool) under the age of 50, unless you have symptoms or immediate family history, as outlined above.
  • If you are able to qualify for a FIT test and if the test is positive (blood in the stool) you will then be eligible for a colonoscopy. Currently that may take up to 5 months to occur (South Okanagan averages).

Chris’s Journey:

  • Chris was always and advocate of his own health
  • At 25 he asked for and was denied a request for a colonoscopy
  • While at the time he had no symptoms his family history of colon cancer was extensive but not consider to be immediate family
  • Later (after being diagnosed with colon cancer) Chris’s Oncologist reviewing Chris’s family history was shocked that he had not had early detection /screening


We all need to increase the discussion on Colon Cancer – this means we have to make poop, pooping and everything about our digestion and digestive system an acceptable topic for conversation.

You must advocate for your own health

It is too late for Chris but many others don’t have to die if all of us push to ensure that the tests that exist are more widely available

I have discovered a clinic in Kelowna where they can preform private colonoscopies. The clinic is called Okanagan Health Surgical Centre. They have three general surgeons that perform this procedure. The FIT TEST, which is also available at Okanagan Health Surgical Centre, does require a doctor’s requisition, which is available at the surgical centre with no conditions.

For further information regarding a FIT TEST or information about scheduling a private colonoscopy contact:

Okanagan Health Surgical Centre
website: okanaganhealthsurgical.ca
telephone: 250-868-9799

At the Giants Head Grind on race day in the park Okanagan Health Surgical Centre will have an information booth in Summerland District Credit Union tent to provide further information. They will be available from 10:00 Am to 1:00 Pm and 3:00 PM to. 5:00 Pm.

Finally I have also discovered through the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada that there are two blood tests that are available to detect colorectal cancer:

  1. Septin 9 and
  2. Cologic http:/cologiclabtest.com

Both require a requisition/prescription from a doctor.

Recently I was told to by a member of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, “the trick is to get the physician to prescribe the test and then if you receive a positive result ensuring that there is a high priority placed on the timing of your colonoscopy.”

Despite my preliminary findings ……you really can take steps towards the early and curable detection of colorectal cancer. 

Thank you for taking the time to join us at the Giants Head Grind- Christopher Walker Memorial Race.

Tom Matthews

Posted in General, Get Tested.

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