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Colorectal cancer: get screened

Did you know?

  • Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Canada. 
  • Incidence of colorectal cancer in Ontario is one of the highest globally. 
  • Screening means doing the test when you have no problems (or symptoms) with your bowels.

Are you at average risk?

You are 50 years or older, and have had no symptoms.

» Learn more

GET SCREENED: FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test)

It is recommended 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.

What is the FIT?
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).

How can people get a FIT kit?
People 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.

Why should people do the FIT?
When colon cancer is caught early, nine out of 10 people with the disease can be cured. Getting checked with FIT helps find colon cancer early, when there are no uncomfortable symptoms (such as persistent diarrhea and stomach pain) and when it is easier to treat. Without getting checked, someone could have colon cancer and not know it.

Learn more about FIT:
Cancer Care Ontario 
Your Health Matters 

Are you at increased risk?

Men and women at any age with one or more close relatives — parent, brother, sister, child — with a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, or symptoms.

» Learn more


What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a careful examination of the lining of the rectum and colon, using a flexible tube with a light on the end.

The actual same-day procedure only takes about 25 minutes and is performed by a physician.

A person who is planning to get a colonoscopy is given appropriate instructions on how to clear the bowels the day before, and is given a mild sedative during the procedure.


Learn more about colorectal cancer care at Sunnybrook »