At-Home Colon Cancer Screening Tips & Tricks

The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is Ontario’s colon cancer screening test for individuals between the ages of 50 and 74 years who have no first-degree family history (i.e. parent, sibling, child) of colon cancer.

Why is completing the FIT correctly important? If caught early through regular cancer screening, there is a 90% chance that colon cancer can be cured.

This simple and painless cancer screening test can be completed in the privacy of your own home. However, completing the FIT correctly continues to be a struggle in the Northwest, as many are rejected for varying reasons including incorrect labelling, the test being expired, or an issue with the sample. When a FIT is rejected, you must complete the test all over again.

In addition to the instructions that you are provided with to complete the kit, here are six tips to help you to successfully complete your FIT:

  1. Don’t wait to complete the test. FITs have expiry dates located on the tube. Try to complete your FIT as soon as possible after getting it in the mail. If your FIT is expiring soon, make sure you send your completed FIT (the FIT tube with your stool or poop sample in it) to the lab at least two weeks before the expiration date.
  2. Make sure your health card is up to date. You will need a valid health card in order to receive and complete a FIT. Expired, invalid, or lost health cards can cause delays.
  3. Labels matter!
    1. Your name and your birth date will be labelled on the FIT tube. Check to make sure this information is correct.
    2. Fill in the date that your stool sample was collected in the space provided on the tube.
  4. Requisition form must be correct. Check that the lab requisition form is filled out correctly with your information. Return the requisition form with your completed FIT.
  5. Mail your completed FIT right away. It is best to mail it or drop it off at your closest LifeLabs within two days of doing the FIT. If you cannot return your completed FIT right away, you can choose to keep it in the fridge for a short period of time. The completed test needs to arrive at the central LifeLabs facility for processing within 14 days of collecting your stool.
  6. Don’t leave your FIT in an outdoor mailbox. FIT samples are temperature sensitive. If they are left in on outdoor mailbox, you risk the sample getting too hot or too cold. It is important that you drop off your completed kit to the post office or to LifeLabs.

To get your FIT kit, talk to your health care provider. If you don’t have a health care provider, you can get a kit from Telehealth Ontario by calling 1-866-828-9213 or by making an appointment on the Screen for Life Coach by calling 684-7777. For more information on colon cancer screening, visit

If you have a family history of colon cancer, talk to your health care provider about the best screening option for you.