FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers are encouraged to take positive actions today, big or small, in observance of World Cancer Day.

Cancer is the leading cause of death and disability in New Brunswick, and Canada. It is responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths, followed by heart and cardiovascular diseases.

As part of its Screening Saves Lives campaign, the New Brunswick Cancer Network is reminding the public to change their modifiable risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and low physical activity, and to participate in the screening programs for cervical, breast and colon cancer.

“Cancer screening leads to early detection and improved survival rates,” said Dr. Eshwar Kumar, a medical officer with the network and medical director of the colon program. “New Brunswick is seeing more and more success stories when it comes to the participants of its three organized cancer screening programs.”

The ability to prevent cervical cancer cases through targeted HPV (Human Papillomavirus) immunization is another important breakthrough.

“HPV vaccination, together with cervical cancer screening, has the potential to drastically reduce cervical cancer in the province,” said Dr. Réjean Savoie, a medical officer with the network and medical director of the cervical program. “HPV vaccination can protect against at least 70 per cent of the high-risk types of HPV that cause cancers of the cervix, anus, penis, vagina or head and neck.”

The New Brunswick Cancer Network is a branch of the Department of Health.

More information on World Cancer Day is available online. Information on cancer screening in the province is also available online or by calling 1-844-777-3443.