Colorectal cancer is the world’s third most common cancer type and the second most common cause of cancer death globally. However, 90% of the time, colorectal cancer can be treated with positive outcomes if diagnosed at its earliest stage.
In Ontario, Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is the recommended screening test for people at average risk of getting colorectal cancer and is available through Cancer Care Ontario’s ColonCancerCheck program. FIT is a safe and painless stool-based test for screening people at average risk of developing colorectal cancer. Average risk is defined as people ages 50 to 74 with no first-degree relative diagnosed with colorectal cancer. FIT checks for tiny amounts of blood in the stool (poop), which can be an early sign of colorectal cancer or abnormal growths in the colon or rectum that can turn into cancer over time.
DYK: LifeLabs is Ontario’s colorectal cancer screening program’s lab services provider. We distribute FIT kits, test the samples, and report results to your primary health care team. We process over two thousand samples daily across Ontario!
Here is what you need to know about FIT:
- The test only takes a few minutes to do.
- You only need to collect one sample.
- To download the FIT instructions in different languages, visit Cancer Care Ontario’s website at this link.
DYK: Just a simple swipe with the collection wand is all we need!
- You can eat and take your medications as usual.
- Make sure to write the date of your poop collection on the tube label!
- Once you collect your sample, mail it to LifeLabs using the postage-paid envelope included in your FIT package or drop it off at a LifeLabs Patient Service Centre within 2 days. See the Location Finder to find a LifeLabs Patient Service Centre near you.
DYK: Your FIT kit expires! Please return the sample within 6 months of receiving it.
- Cancer Care Ontario will mail you a letter with your test result. Your family doctor or nurse practitioner will also get a copy of your test result from LifeLabs.
- If your test result is abnormal, it does not necessarily mean that you have colorectal cancer or abnormal growth that could become cancer. It does mean that additional testing is needed. ColonCancerCheck recommends that people with an abnormal result have a colonoscopy within eight weeks.
- If your test result is normal, you should get screened in two years using FIT. It is important to keep getting screened with FIT every two years until age 74.
For more information on screening with the fecal immunochemical test (FIT), visit LifeLabs FIT page or visit Cancer Care Ontario’s website