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Colorectal Cancer Screening

Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)

FIT is a safe and painless at-home cancer screening test. FIT checks someone’s stool (poop) for tiny amounts of blood, which could be caused by colon cancer and some pre-cancerous polyps (growths in the colon or rectum that can turn into cancer over time). When colon cancer is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better.

How is the test performed?

A stool sample

Healthcare providers are gradually starting colon cancer screening tests again.

Healthcare providers have been encouraged to start with targeted screening for groups at highest risk of cancer. Routine cancer screening is starting up slowly to keep you and healthcare staff safe, and to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The gradual reintroduction of routine cancer screening is consistent with the Ministry of Health’s directions to gradually start offering services that have been delayed because of COVID-19.

If you are due or overdue for colon cancer screening, please contact your family doctor or nurse practitioner for more information.

Questions?

  • Call CCO toll-free: 1-866-662-9233 Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Send CCO an email at cancerinfo@ontariohealth.ca
  • For information about COVID-19, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Health.

FIT is the recommended screening test for people at average risk* of getting colon cancer in Ontario. FIT is available across the province through Cancer Care Ontario’s organized colon cancer screening program, ColonCancerCheck.

FIT is a safe and painless cancer screening test that can be done at home and only takes a few minutes. FIT checks someone’s stool (poop) for tiny amounts of blood, which could be caused by colon cancer and some pre-cancerous polyps (growths in the colon or rectum that can turn into cancer over time).

FIT has many advantages, such as:

  • It is user-friendly and reduces contact with stool
  • You only need to collect one stool sample
  • You can eat and take your medications as usual

*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.

People at average risk of colon cancer should be screened with FIT every two years.

A person is at average risk if they are 50 to 74 years old with no first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, child) who has been diagnosed with colon cancer.

You can discuss your eligibility for a ColonCancerCheck FIT with your family doctor or nurse practitioner. If you are eligible for a FIT, the test will be ordered for you and LifeLabs will then mail a FIT package to your Ontario mailing address of choice.

  • If you do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner, please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-828-9213.
  • If you are in the North West region or the Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand Brant region you can visit a mobile screening coach to discuss your eligibility for FIT.
  • If you live on a First Nation reserve, you can visit a health centre or nursing station for more information.

Your family doctor or nurse practitioner will get a copy of your test result from LifeLabs. Cancer Care Ontario will also mail you a letter with your test result a few weeks after you have returned your completed FIT.

It is important to return your completed FIT as soon as possible (within 2 days of taking your sample).

  • You can mail your completed FIT using the pre-paid yellow return envelope provided in the FIT package.
  • You can also drop it off at a LifeLabs Patient Service centre – visit the LifeLabs Location Finder (locations.lifelabs.com) for drop-off locations and hours.
  • If you live on a First Nations reserve, please contact your health centre or nursing station to discuss drop off options.
  • If you have questions about how to return your completed FIT, call LifeLabs at 1-833-676-1426.