Back to Top Getting screened for colon cancer is fast, easy and free - The Ottawa Hospital

Getting screened for colon cancer is fast, easy and free

A collection kit

Poop, #2, BM, stool – whatever you call it, it could save your life.

If you’ve been putting off getting checked for colon cancer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time to put it back on your to-do list.  Getting checked for colon cancer is quick, free and painless (really!). No need to make an appointment. No need to travel to the hospital. You can do the screening yourself, right from home.

Still on the fence?

Here are the top three reasons to get checked for colon cancer

  1. Early screening can save your life: When colon cancer is diagnosed early, it is more likely to be cured. Nine out of 10 people can be cured if colon cancer is caught early.
  2. You may have colon cancer and not know it: Colon cancer can have no symptoms, so getting screened can help you catch it early and improve your chances of survival.
  3. The screening is free and easy to do: The test used to screen people for colon cancer is free to use and can be delivered to your home.  You can perform the test yourself and send the collection hassle-free by mail or drop it off at the lab.

Have more questions about colon cancer screening?  Here are answers to some FAQs.

Who should get screened for colon cancer?

People ages 50 to 74 should get checked for colon cancer every two years, even if no one in their family has had the disease.

What test is used to screen for colon cancer

Ontarians use the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) test to screen for colon cancer.  While the word “test” might sound daunting, the FIT test is quite the opposite.  Here’s why:

  1. It’s free
  2. It’s mailed directly to your home
  3. It can be done at home
  4. It’s safe
  5. It’s painless
  6. It only takes a few minutes
  7. You don’t have to change your diet or medications
  8. Once you’re done, mail it away in a postage-paid envelope

How does the FIT test work?

The FIT test checks your stool (poop) for tiny amounts of blood, which can be caused by colorectal cancer or some pre-cancerous polyps (growths in the colon or rectum that can turn into cancer over time). Cancer Care Ontario will mail you a letter with your test result. Your family doctor or nurse practitioner will also get a copy of your test result from LifeLabs.

If my FIT test result is abnormal, do I have colon cancer?

If your test result is abnormal, it does not necessarily mean that you have colorectal cancer or polyps that could become cancer. It does mean that more testing is needed. ColonCancerCheck recommends that people with an abnormal result have a colonoscopy within eight weeks. Read more about an abnormal FIT result.

How can I get a FIT test?

Talk to your family doctor or nurse practitioner about receiving a free FIT test.  If you don’t have a family doctor, you can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-828-9213 to have one mailed to you.

Learn more about screening for colorectal cancer from Cancer Care Ontario.

The Ottawa Hospital is a leader in colon cancer screening

Dr. Alaa Rostom, Chief of Gastroenterology at The Ottawa Hospital is the Regional Colorectal Screening/GI Endoscopy Lead for the Champlain Regional Cancer Program. Dr. Catherine Dubé is a gastroenterologist at The Ottawa Hospital and is the Clinical Lead for the ColonCancerCheck program for all of Ontario. These two dedicated physicians provide leadership, expertise and guidance at both the regional and provincial level.

The Ottawa Hospital is pleased to participate in ColonCancerCheck, Ontario’s colorectal cancer screening program, by providing colonoscopy services to those with an abnormal stool test result and those at increased risk of colon cancer.


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This website gives you common facts, advice and tips. Some of it may not apply to you. Please talk to your doctor, nurse or other health-care team member to see if this information will work for you. They can also answer your questions and concerns.