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Colon Cancer Prevention and Screening

Dec 17, 2018

Colorectal (colon) cancer is the third-most diagnosed type of cancer in Canada. When colorectal cancer is caught early, most people (90%) recover fully after treatment and cancer is less likely to spread. To reduce your risk of colon cancer:

  • maintain a healthy body weight  
  • be physically active  
  • reduce alcohol intake
  • take calcium/folic acid supplements  
  • don’t smoke   
  • know your family history
  • most importantly, get screened

Everyone between the ages of 50 and 74 should get a colon cancer screening every two years if their risk of cancer is average. Rexdale CHC offers this free screening to patients enrolled with our Primary Health Care. There are two screening tests: Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) and Colonoscopy.


FOBT is a simple test that you can do yourself in your own home. When you receive an FOBT kit from your provider, check the expiry date. If your kit is expired or expiring within a month, contact your provider about getting a replacement. Don’t take the test if you alreay have symptoms of colon cancer or you have blood in your urine. Wait three days after you stop bleeding if you’re menstruating, bleeding from hemorrhoids or bleeding from dental work.
Send the test off by mail to get your results. You must complete and mail the kit one month before the expiry date. ColonCancerCheck will send your results to you and your health care provider. If you don’t get your results within a month, contact your health care provider. If your result is negative, you will get a reminder of your next test in two years. If your result is positive, it means there’s blood in your stool but doesn’t always mean you have cancer. You’ll need to follow up with a colonoscopy to find out. Your health care provider will contact you to arrange the next steps.


A colonoscopy is an examination of the lining of your rectum and colon using a long flexible tube with a camera on the end. This test is for people with a higher risk of cancer. Your doctor may recommend this test if you have a positive FOBT result or a sibling, child or parent had colorectal cancer.

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