Colorectal cancer screening

Colorectal cancer screening can be done in several ways.

  • The Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is a test that can be done at home.  The FOBT takes a sample of your stool (poop) so it can be sent to a laboratory and analyzed. 
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy, which uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera to see the inside of your rectum and lower colon. 
  • Colonoscopy, which uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera to see the inside of your colon.

FOBT, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy find cancer early, when it is most treatable. A person with colorectal cancer has a 90 per cent chance of being cured if the cancer is caught early enough through screening.

The ColonCancerCheck program provides colorectal cancer screening to two groups of people:

  • Men and women aged 50 to 74 years with no family history of colorectal cancer. These people get an FOBT every two years. They have an average risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • People who have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or child) with a history of colorectal cancer. They are at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.  These people get a colonoscopy beginning at age 50 or 10 years earlier than the age at which their relative was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, whichever happens first.  

You can get an FOBT from your primary care provider, pharmacist or by contacting Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-828-9213. You need an invitation from ColonCancerCheck or a referral from your primary care provider to get a flexible sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy.

You can learn more about colorectal cancer screening by using the related resources on the right side of this page. You can find locations where colorectal cancer screening is given by using the related services on the right side of this page. 

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