FAQs

What is ColonCancerCheck?

ColonCancerCheck is a province-wide screening program for men and women to help raise screening rates and reduce deaths from colon cancer.

The ColonCancerCheck program has two arms for colon cancer screening: Average Risk for the general population, ages 50 to 74, and Increased Risk for Ontario residents with a family history. For more information on the Average Risk and Increased Risk programs click here.

Who is at average risk for colon cancer?

Men and women ages 50 to 74 with no symptoms or close family history (parent, sibling or child with colon cancer) are encouraged to take a free, easy, at-home screening test called a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) every two years. The FOBT is available from your healthcare provider.

Anyone who doesn’t have a healthcare provider can visit the Mobile Cancer Screening Coach or all Telehealth Ontario’s colon cancer screening line at 1-866-828-9213 for information on how to get an FOBT kit.

Who is at increased risk of colon cancer?

People are considered at increased risk if they have a family history of colon  cancer that includes one or more first-degree relatives (parent, sibling or child) who have been diagnosed with this disease. People at increased risk should speak to their healthcare provider about getting a colonoscopy.

What is my risk of developing colon cancer?

To learn about your personal risk of developing colon cancer you can use an online tool called My CancerIQ.

Why is colon cancer screening important?

While colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Ontario, it’s highly treatable when caught early. In fact, when caught early, nine out of every 10 people with colon cancer can be cured. In its later stages, the outcomes are much worse.

When should I be screened for colon cancer?

Ontario men and women ages 50 to 74 with no symptoms or family history are encouraged to take an easy, at-home screening test called the Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) every two years.

People are considered at increased risk if a close family member  (parent, sibling or child) has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Screening should begin at age 50, or 10 years earlier than the age their relative was diagnosed — whichever comes  first. People at increased risk should speak to their healthcare provider about a colonoscopy.

What is a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)?

The Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is a simple take-home test that screens for signs of colon cancer. It is recommended that men and women ages 50 to 74 with no symptoms or family history be screened every two years using the FOBT.

This test involves collecting tiny samples of your fecal matter and mailing those samples to a lab for testing. If the test comes back positive the next step is a colonoscopy for a closer look.

For more information about the FOBT please click here.

Where can I get a FOBT kit?

Ask your healthcare provider (ie. family doctor, nurse practitioner) for a FOBT kit to screen for signs of colon cancer. People without a healthcare provider can get the FOBT kit by visiting the Mobile Cancer Screening Coach  or contacting Telehealth Ontario at 1.866.828.9213.

How do I complete the FOBT kit?

The FOBT kit comes with easy-to-follow instructions. You can also watch this video for step-by-step instructions.

What if I have a family history of colorectal cancer?

If you have a close family history of colon cancer (parent, sibling or child with this disease) or have symptoms, a colonoscopy is recommended.

Is the FOBT 100% accurate?

Unfortunately, every test in medicine has limitations and screening tests are no exception. The FOBT increases the chances of detecting colon cancer early but does not catch everyone. This is called a false negative test. Even a colonoscopy is not 100% accurate. Trying to do a colonoscopy on everyone as a screening test is simply not possible so Cancer Care Ontario recommends patients use the FOBT every two years starting at age 50 unless they have a family history of colon cancer (parent, sibling or child with colon cancer) or other high risk factors. You are welcome to direct message the Regional Cancer Screening Program with additional questions.

How will I receive the results of my FOBT test?

If your results are normal, ColonCancerCheck will send you a letter to let you know.

If your results suggest that further testing is required, Cancer Care Ontario’s ColonCancerCheck program or your healthcare provider will contact you directly to make arrangements for follow-up.