The short-term costs of enhanced early colorectal cancer screening are outweighed by the long-term benefits, provincial NDP leader Adrian Dix said Friday.
Dix made a visit to Prince George to stress the need for individuals in northern BC to get screened for the deadly disease and for more government support for early detection efforts. He said 20 per cent fewer of men and women between 50 and 74 years old in this region get tested contrasted with the rest of the province.
"I think part of the resistance is a certain squeamishness about it," Dix said. "It's a very easy test to take, I've taken it, it takes a couple of minutes, it doesn't involve very much."
The provincial government launched a pilot program in 2009 which made test kits available to residents in certain regions of the province. Dix wants to see that expanded province-wide.
He noted that it would cost a lot to provide the test -- an at-home kit to test stool for increased blood levels -- but that it would provide savings due to lower treatment costs down the road.
Each year about 3,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in BC and 1,100 die from it annually, making it the second deadliest cancer in the province.
Dix began his crusade for better screening after his mother was diagnosed in 1998. Her cancer was caught early and she's still living.
"When you talk about the costs and benefits of these things, I can't tell you what those 15 years mean to me and what they mean to people who survive this form of cancer," he said.
Dix has also posted a video on YouTube to encourage people to get tested.