Preventative Health - Colorectal Screening

It’s out of sight, but it shouldn't’t be out of mind. It may surprise you to learn that colorectal
cancer is the second deadliest cancer in Canada. Ontario has one of the highest rates of
colorectal cancer in the world. Sadly, thousands of men and women in Ontario die from
colorectal cancer each year. Yet, if detected early colorectal cancer is highly curable.

Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
It can detect the presence of blood in your stool. A positive test requires a follow up to find
out if you have colorectal cancer. It is recommended that everyone 50 years and older
should be screened with FOBT every two years.

About the Fecal Occult Blood Test Kit
A Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is a simple self-administered test that can be done in the
privacy of your own home. It involves you collecting a small sample of your stool on three
different days. The FOBT kit includes a detailed instruction sheet (insert link to FOBT
instruction sheet) so you’ll know just what to do.

Being a little uncomfortable about handling stool is natural. But don’t let your discomfort
with handling stool put you off from doing a potentially life saving test. The Colon Cancer
Check program FOBT kits is available at the clinic for pickup, you may also call the clinic and
asked for it to be mailed to you if you are a rostered patient of the clinic. An FOBT home
test kit is the most widely available tool to screen for colorectal cancer.

The FOBT test allows for blood in the stool to be detected that may not be visible to the
naked eye. It involves you collecting a small sample of your stool on three different days.
You can collect your stool by placing a clean disposable container, tissue or plastic wrap into
the toilet bowl.

Applicator sticks are provided in the FOBT kit for you to collect small stool samples and
smear them on a test card. Once this process has been completed, the test card is sealed in
a foil envelope, and placed in the pre-addressed envelope along with a completed
requisition form. It can be mailed to, or dropped off at, a participating lab.

A positive test result does not necessarily mean that you have colorectal cancer.
Approximately 10% of people with a positive FOBT are found to have cancer during a
follow-up colonoscopy. Other health conditions can cause blood to be present in stool. But it
does mean that further follow up with a health care provider is necessary.

An FOBT can’t tell you why there is blood in your stool, but it is a good early warning sign.
Studies show when this screening test is performed every two years it will reduce deaths
from colorectal cancer by 16 per cent over a decade. Yet, less than a quarter of Ontarians
did an FOBT in the last two years. Don’t be in the dark about an FOBT. It can help shed light
on what may be a very serious, but treatable, disease.

The Benefits of an FOBT as a Screening Tool :

Colon cancer, often called colorectal cancer, develops in the large intestines (your colon and
rectum). It generally develops from tiny growths inside the colon or rectum called polyps.
There are no early warning symptoms of the disease. That's why regular screening is the
best defense. Remember, if detected early colorectal cancer is easily treated and cured.

So if you still do not understand or need instruction on how to complete the FOBT test and
you are a rostered patient of Family First Health Centre please make an appointment with a
nurse to review the procedures.

Are you at risk of developing colorectal cancer?

If you answered yes to any of these questions talk to your health care provider about how
to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer and appropriate screening methods to catch this

You have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer if you have a family history of
the disease. It is recommended that you get screened at an earlier age (10 years earlier
than the age of the diagnosis of your family member) if one or more of your first degree
family members had colorectal cancer :

For more information visit the Ontario Colorectal Screening Website.

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