In Ontario, colon cancer is the third most common cancer, and currently the second leading cause of cancer related deaths. However, when colon cancer is detected early, it is among the most treatable forms of cancer, with 9 out of 10 people cured.
Cancer screening helps to identify colon cancer before it causes symptoms, when it is often smaller and more easily treatable. For the average Ontarian, the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) kit is the first line screening test. This test is offered to average risk Ontarians between the ages of 50 to 74, every 2 years. People who are at higher than average risk are usually offered screening colonoscopy, with the timing individualized based on your risk profile.
Colon cancers, even early ones, tend to be fragile and bleed easily. The FOBT kit looks for trace amounts of blood in the stool, amounts that would not be visible to the naked eye. If blood is found in the stool, it does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. Your health care provider or a member of the ColonCancerCheck team (Ontario’s provincial colon cancer screening program) will contact you to arrange a follow-up colonoscopy.
The FOBT kit is very simple to complete. It is done in the privacy of your home, and can be dropped off to the lab or placed in the mail.
Completing the kit is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
If you don’t have a primary care provider:
If you have symptoms, think that you may be at higher than average risk for colon cancer, or wish to discuss your colon cancer risk, you should contact your primary care provider to review your symptoms or risk profile, discuss investigations or screening options and measures for prevention.
For more information about your risk of developing cancer, visit www.mycanceriq.ca and complete a confidential online risk assessment for 6 different types of cancer, including colon cancer. For more information contact ColonCancerCheck directly by email at ColonCancerCheck.email@example.com or call INFOline at 1-866-410-5853 — ask about the program and how to join.