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Fecal Occult Blood Test

A fecal occult blood test (or FOBT) is a screening test you can do at home that checks for the presence of small amounts of blood in the stool (poop) that may be caused by colorectal cancer.

Men and women aged 50 to 74 years with no family history of colorectal cancer are considered to be at average risk for the disease, and should be screened every two years with a fecal occult blood test (FOBT).

FOBT kit

FOBT: What You Need to Know

  • ColonCancerCheck FOBT kits are available from family physicians and nurse practitioners. Those without a family physician or nurse practitioner can get a kit by contacting Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-828-9213.
  • The test can be done at home, and only takes a few minutes a day on three separate days to complete.
  • Once the samples are collected, they are sent to a lab for testing (using the postage-paid envelope provided in the kit or by returning the kit to specimen collection centres).
  • At the lab, a technician uses special equipment to test the stool samples for blood.
  • If blood is found, the test result is abnormal and follow-up is needed. Although most people who have blood in their stool do not have colorectal cancer, a colonoscopy is required follow-up for all abnormal tests to find out if there is a cancer. (See Abnormal Fecal Occult Blood Test Result)
  • If no blood is found in the stool, the test result is normal. People with a normal test should re-screen using the FOBT every two years.

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Last modified: Mon, May 02, 2016
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