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Colon Cancer Screening

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. The colon is also called the large intestine or large bowel.  It is a hollow tube that is five to six feet long and is twisted within the abdomen. The rectum is the last six inches of the colon. The colon is a hardworking organ that helps our bodies take in water and remove waste.

Cancer in the colon or rectum can take up to 10 years or more to develop to an advanced stage. For this reason, it is very important to make regular screening for colorectal cancer a part of your routine health checks.

Fecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT)

The Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is the screening method for average risk people between the ages of 50 and 74. It is a simple test that you can do in the privacy of your home. The FOBT is the most widely available test for screening for colorectal cancer.

People between the ages of 50 and 74, who do not have a family history of colorectal cancer and do not have symptoms, should be screened every two years using an FOBT. Studies show when this screening test is performed every two years, combined with a colonoscopy for those who test positive, death from colorectal cancer is reduced by 16% over a decade (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Website).