Colorectal (Colon) Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women. Like breast cancer, there are often no early warning symptoms of colorectal cancer but if caught early through screening, there is a 90% chance it can be treated and cured.

Ontario has transitioned from the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) to the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) for colon cancer screening. FIT is a simple, safe and painless at-home cancer screening test that checks your stool (poop) for tiny amounts of blood, which could be caused by colon cancer and/or pre-cancerous polyps (growths in the colon or rectum that can turn into cancer over time).

Who should be screened and when?

ColonCancerCheck recommends that people who have no symptoms and are at average risk of colon cancer get screened with FIT every two years. “Average risk” is defined as people ages 50 to 74 with no first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister or child) who has been diagnosed with colon cancer.

ColonCancerCheck recommends that people who have no symptoms and are at increased risk of colon cancer get screened with a colonoscopy. Someone at increased risk should start screening at age 50, or 10 years earlier than the age their relative was diagnosed with colon cancer, whichever comes first. “Increased risk” is defined as people with a family history of colon cancer that includes at least one first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) who has been diagnosed with this disease.

What is the ColonCancerCheck?

ColonCancerCheck is Canada’s first province-wide, population-based colorectal cancer screening program. It was developed to educate Canadians about the importance of colorectal cancer screening, reduce deaths, and support health care providers in offering the best possible colorectal cancer screening for their patients. 

How do I get checked for colon cancer?

People in Ontario can talk to their family doctor or nurse practitioner about getting checked for colon cancer with FIT.

  • If someone does not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner, they can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-828-9213.
  • If someone lives on a First Nation reserve, they can contact their health centre or nursing station.

For more information on screening for colon cancer visit Cancer Care Ontario’s website.


For Healthcare Providers referring patients to colonoscopy because of an abnormal FIT/FOBT result click here to access the regional facility referral forms.