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Colorectal Cancer Screening

Every year, over 9,000 Ontarians (slightly more men than women) will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and over 3,000 Ontarians will die from it.

In 2011–2012, approximately 30% of Ontarians 50–74 years old were screened for colorectal cancer using the fecal occult blood test (FOBT).

Ontario has among the highest rates of colorectal cancer in the world. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer in Ontario for men and women combined.

The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age, with over 90% of new cases diagnosed in people 50 years of age and over. It can take up to 10 years or more to develop to an advanced stage. That’s why it’s important for both men and women to know the symptoms of colorectal cancer, how to reduce the risk of getting cancer and when to go for screening.

ColonCancerCheck Screening Recommendations

Screening people at average risk of colorectal cancer

  • ColonCancerCheck recommends screening with a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every two years for asymptomatic people ages 50 to 74 without a family history of colorectal cancer.
  • Abnormal FOBT results should be followed up with a colonoscopy within eight weeks.
  • People ages 50 to 74 without a family history of colorectal cancer who choose to be screened with flexible sigmoidoscopy should be screened every 10 years.
  • Due to insufficient evidence, the ColonCancerCheck program recommends against screening for colorectal cancer using metabolomic (blood or urine), DNA, computed tomography colonography, capsule colonoscopy and double contrast barium enema.

Screening people at increased risk of colorectal cancer

  • ColonCancerCheck recommends that asymptomatic people get screened with colonoscopy if they have a family history of colorectal cancer that includes one or more first-degree relatives with the disease. Screening should be begin at 50 years of age, or 10 years earlier than the age their relative was diagnosed, whichever occurs first

Benefits of Screening

Being screened increases the chances of detecting colorectal cancer early. Someone with colorectal cancer has a nine out of ten chance of being cured if the cancer is caught early.

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Last modified: Mon, May 16, 2016
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