ColonCheck

Most men and women age 50-74 should do a home screening test every 2 years.

Home Screening Test Instructions (pdf): 

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  • Request a test from ColonCheck today
  • ColonCheck is Manitoba's organized colon cancer screening program.

What is the Home Screening Test?

The home screening test is a test that looks for hidden blood in the stool (poop). It is also called a Fecal Occult Blood Test or FOBT. It is a simple test that you do in your own bathroom.

You place samples of your stool on a test card and send it to the lab where it is checked for hidden blood. Blood may be a sign of polyps or colon cancer.

ColonCheck does not require you to stop eating red meat or to stop taking medications to do this test. You can continue to eat your usual diet except for Vitamin C. Eating a lot of Vitamin C may hide blood that is in your stool.

Click here (pdf) for more information about how much Vitamin C is allowed. Vitamin C is in many foods. Click here (pdf) for a complete listing of common foods and their Vitamin C content.

If you did consume more than 250 mg of vitamin C during the collection period, please discard the test and click here to request a new test. After you do the test, you send it in the mail to the lab. ColonCheck will send you and your health care provider your result.

Home screening test instruction videos

Benefits and Potential Harms

Some of the benefits of the home screening test include:

  • You can do the test at home.
  • Completing this test and any follow-up test may find polyps or colon cancer in its early stages, when treatment is most effective. Removing polyps can prevent cancer from developing.
  • Screening with the home screening test can reduce deaths from colon cancer by up to 25%.

The home screening test alone has little risk or harm. An abnormal test result leads to a follow up test such as colonoscopy English | French (pdf) that have more risk.

The home screening test is not perfect:

  • It may say there is blood when there really is none and this may result in unnecessary further testing.
  • It may miss blood in a sample and possibly miss a diagnosis of polyps or cancer.

Some polyps and colon cancers do not bleed. Therefore, the home screening test will not detect all polyps or cancer.

Who Should Get Checked?

It is recommended that most men and women age 50–74 do a home screening test (stool test) every 2 years. If you are younger than 50, or older than 74, screening depends on the person's health and family history therefore we encourage you to discuss your colon cancer risk factors and screening options with your health care provider.

The home screening test is for people who have no symptoms of colon cancer. You can feel well and not know that you have polyps or colon cancer in the early stages.

You do not need to do the test now if you have:

  • done a home screening test in the past 2 years, or
  • had a colonoscopy in the past 5 years.

Do not do the test if you have:

  • rectal bleeding or any sign of blood after bowel movements.
  • unexplained weight loss, tiredness, exhaustion, abdominal pain or cramping.
  • persistent change in bowel habits such as:
  • diarrhea or constipation for more than a few weeks.
    • Stools that are consistently more narrow than usual.
    • The feeling that you are not completely emptying your bowel.

These may be symptoms of colon cancer. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor or nurse immediately as you may need other tests.

You can reduce your risk of colon cancer in the following ways:

  • Get Checked! It is recommended that most people age 50-74 do a home screening test every 2 years. Some people may be at increased risk and need colon cancer screening before age 50 or need a different test called a colonoscopy.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices:
    • Eat well:
      • Eat 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
      • Eat 6 ounces of whole grains daily. This has been linked to a 21% decreased risk of colon cancer.
      • Drink alcohol in moderation (no more than 2 drinks/day for men and no more than 1 drink/day for women).
      • Limit the amount of red meat and processed meats that you eat.
    • Be physically active for 30 minutes or more per day.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Don't smoke or use tobacco.

Results & Follow-Up

We will mail you your test result if it is normal. If it is abnormal, you will get a phone call from ColonCheck's Follow-up Coordinator and a letter in the mail. Your health care provider, if you specified one when you filled out the response form, will also be sent a copy of your result. The Follow-up Coordinator or your health care provider will set up an appointment for colonoscopy.

  • A normal result means that no blood was found in the stool. It is recommended that you repeat the home screening test in 2 years.
  • An abnormal result means blood was found in the stool. There are many possible reasons for blood in your stool. It does not necessarily mean you have cancer. More testing will need to be done to see where the blood is coming from. A colonoscopy English | French (pdf) is usually recommended if you have an abnormal home screening test result.

How Do I Get Checked?

If you:

  • are between ages 50-74,
  • have not done a home screening test in the past 2 years, or
  • had a colonoscopy in the past 5 years,

we invite you to request a Home Screening Test or order a replacement Home Screening Test in any one of the ways below:

  1. Online using the form below.
  2. By phone at 1-855-95-CHECK.
  3. Through your healthcare provider.

Did you know?

  • Colon cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Manitoba. In a year over 900 men and women will be diagnosed. Over 300 people will die from it.
  • The time to check is before you have symptoms. You can feel well and not even know that you have polyps or colon cancer.
  • The home screening test is a simple test you do in the privacy of your own home. Request a test below under How do I Get Checked?
  • When colon cancer is found in the earliest stage, there is over a 90% chance of survival.
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