Every once in a while, governments do something right. And any time they do something that fights cancer, it's got to be right.
That's why we're joining the Canadian Cancer Society in applauding the provincial government's announcement of a new screening program to detect colorectal cancer to get underway next spring.
Colorectal cancer is one of those cancers that is eminently treatable if it's detected early enough. And yet, despite its treatability, it kills more men and women each year than just about any other cancer.
The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that by the close of 2012, some 2,850 British Columbians will have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 1,150 - about two of every five - will die from it.
In May 2011, the society estimated that if 80 per cent of Canadians aged 50 and older were screened every two years, 10,000 to 15,000 colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented over the next 10 years. Most colorectal cancers grow slowly and predictably and do not cause signs or symptoms until the cancer reaches an advanced stage.
Consequently, the Cancer Society believes regular screening and detection are critical.
The government's decision to institute province-wide screening is not rocket science - and it's not reinventing the wheel: the program builds on a pilot program that has been operating since 2009 in a number of B.C. communities.
This is a positive initiative that has the potential to save hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives.
What's not to applaud about that?