- Colorectal cancer is one third of the most diagnosed cancers in Canada
- Ontario has among the highest rates of colorectal cancer in the world
- In 2014, about 8900 Ontarians were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, about 3400 died from the disease
- Rates of colon cancer are slightly higher in men than women
- In 2011-2012, only 30% of Ontarians aged 50-74 were screened using the take-home Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
- Colorectal cancer is about 90% curable if found early! Get screened!
Signs & Symptoms
There are very few early signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer as there is lots of room in the intestine for the cancer to grow. Some of the symptoms that may appear once the cancerous growth is big enough to cause bleeding or blockage:
- A change in bowel habits
- Blood in the stool—can be bright red or very dark almost black in appearance
- Diarrhea, constipation or feeling that your bowel does not empty completely.
- Stools that are narrower than usual
- Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feeling very tired
Don’t wait for symptoms—get screened!
Adults of Average Risk
- Get a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) from your health care provider. You need both the kit and a lab requisition to compete the kit.
- If you do not have a family doctor, you can call 1-866-828-9213 for a free FOBT kit. A doctor will be assigned to you if you require any follow-up from the home test. www.ontario.ca/coloncancercheck
- Start at age 50 and repeat every 2 years until age 74
- 70% of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer have no family history
- Follow-up with your health care provider if the results detect any blood in your stool.
Adults of High Risk
- Men and women with a family history of colorectal cancer should seek a colonoscopy at age 50 or ten years earlier than when a parent, sibling or child was diagnosed.
- A colonoscopy uses a long flexible tube with a camera on the end to take a look at the inside of you rectum and colon. Talk to your doctor about booking this test.
- During a colonoscopy polyps—small growths inside the colon, may be removed during the procedure.
- Any tissue removed during a colonoscopy will be sent to the lab to determine if any abnormal cells are growing.
- Your scoping doctor will recommend when you should return for your next colonoscopy depending upon what was seen in your current scope.