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Colon Cancer Check - 
Learn about Colorectal Cancer

What is Colorectal Cancer?  Colorectal cancer refers to cancer of the colon or rectum. The colon, which is also called the large intestine or large bowel, is a hollow tube five to six feet long and is coiled within the abdomen. The rectum is the last six inches of the colon. This is not a part of our bodies we spend a lot of time thinking about and certainly not talking about, but the colon is a hardworking organ that helps our bodies absorb water and to excrete waste.
Cancer in the colon or rectum can take up to 10 years or more to develop to an advanced stage. That’s why it’s very important to make regular screening for colorectal cancer a part of your routine health checks.
Find out if you should be screened for colorectal cancer – assess your colorectal health by answering these simple questions.

What are the causes of colorectal cancer?
When normal cells that form the lining of the colon begin to grow abnormally a small precancerous growth can form. The trouble often begins with a 'polyp', which is a non-cancerous growth projecting from the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Polyps are not cancerous at the beginning, but some polyps do turn into cancers. If polyps are removed in their early stages colorectal cancer can be prevented. But if left unchecked, some polyps can slowly become cancers.
Read more about prevention and screening for colorectal cancer.

What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
During the early stages polyps may grow to a large size without causing any symptoms. As colorectal cancer progresses, the following symptoms may occur:

  • A change in your bowel movements

  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool (feces)

  • Diarrhea, constipation or feeling that your bowel does not empty completely

  • Stools that are narrower than usual

  • Stomach discomfort

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Fatigue

  • Vomiting

It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other health problems. For instance, blood in the stool can be caused by inflammation of the bowels or hemorrhoids. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t hesitate to talk to your health care provider during your next health visit about these symptoms.

For more information about ColonCancerCheck, call ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-866-410-5853.
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.
TTY 1-800-387-5559.
Email : or
Visit : Cancer Care Ontario


Screening for Colorectal Cancer


The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is a screening test for people at average risk of getting colorectal cancer. FIT is now used instead of the guaiac fecal occult blood test (gFOBT), which used to be Ontario’s colorectal cancer screening test. As of December 24, 2019, labs in Ontario will no longer test ColonCancerCheck gFOBT kits.

Cancer screening is testing done on people who are at risk of getting cancer, but who have no symptoms and generally feel fine.

Colorectal cancer screening increases the chance of finding cancer early when it is easier to treat. When colorectal cancer is caught early, 9 out of 10 people can be cured. If you have colorectal cancer and do not get screened, you may miss the chance for early and more effective treatment.

The kind of screening test you get depends on whether you are at average risk of getting colorectal cancer or at increased risk of getting colorectal cancer.

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

Someone is at increased risk if they have a family history of colorectal cancer that includes 1 or more first-degree relatives (parent, brother, sister or child) with the disease.

Call us at 807-227-2675 to get your FIT test sent directly to you!

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