06/21/2013 06:23 EDT | Updated 08/21/2013 05:12 EDT

N.L. government expanding colon cancer screening program to central region

GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, N.L. - The government of Newfoundland and Labrador is expanding a program that screens for colon cancer to the central region of the province.

Health Minister Susan Sullivan says about 2,000 screening kits will be distributed to residents of Grand Falls-Windsor and the surrounding area.

It's designed for people between the age of 50 and 74 who are at average risk of colon cancer.

Sullivan says the government will spend about $1.2 million on the expansion, which moves it closer to the goal of having a province-wide screening program by 2015.

She says over 1,700 kits were mailed out in Corner Brook and 70 per cent of those were completed.

Returned samples are analyzed and people with positive test results are contacted for a follow-up colonoscopy.