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CF Newborn Screening
Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis is a vital tool to help slow the progression of this fatal genetic disease. Newborn screening is the process of testing newborns for specific disorders. Shortly after a baby is born, a doctor or nurse takes a small blood sample from the heel of the baby’s foot. The sample is sent to a laboratory, where it is tested for a number of disorders. One of the tests detects cystic fibrosis.
Importance Of Screening For Cystic Fibrosis
Early diagnosis for cystic fibrosis through newborn screening allows for immediate intervention and treatment. Early interventions have been shown to: improve height, weight, and cognitive function, help maintain healthy respiratory function and reduce hospitalizations; they may also increase life expectancy. Ultimately, newborn screening can lead to longer, healthier lives.
Without newborn screening, irreversible damage to the lungs and digestive system may occur. Parents and families endure months or years of anguish trying to understand their child’s health condition before cystic fibrosis is finally diagnosed.
Newborn Screening For Cystic Fibrosis In Canada
All of the provinces and territories in Canada have implemented newborn screening – except Quebec.
Cystic Fibrosis Canada continues to appeal to the provincial government to implement cystic fibrosis newborn screening in the province. To date, there has been no commitment from the Government to act.
Cystic Fibrosis Canada has been in ongoing communication with the Government of Quebec since 2012 about this issue. We continue to meet with the Government regularly to press the importance of newborn screening and its cost-effectiveness.
We encourage residents of Quebec to raise their voices for cystic fibrosis newborn screening by contacting their Member of the National Assembly to explain the importance of early detection and treatment.