ColonCheck

 (c) CancerCare Manitoba

The FOBT can help find polyps before they become cancer.

Colon and rectal cancer do not have any signs or symptoms in the early stages.

Colon cancer, also known as colorectal or bowel cancer, originates from small growths (polyps) in the colon or rectum. You can have these growths for several years without having symptoms. Most polyps do not become cancerous. Some polyps can turn into cancer if they are not removed.

The FOBT kit (also known as the home screening test) is the best way to prevent colon and rectal cancer.

Most people age 50-74 should do a home screening test every 2 years. Request a kit today!

 (c) CancerCare Manitoba

Get screened for colon and rectal cancer.

The FOBT kit (also known as the home screening test) is done in the privacy of your own bathroom.

The FOBT can see what you cannot see - hidden blood in the stool. The FOBT can help find:

  • polyps before they turn into cancer, and
  • colon and rectal cancer in an earlier stage making it more easily treated.

To do the FOBT, collect stool (poop) samples 3 days in a row. If you do not have daily bowel movements (poops), complete the test within 7 days.

 (c) CancerCare Manitoba

Request an FOBT (home screening test) kit today!

A kit will be sent in the mail once you become eligible (age 50) for colon and rectal cancer screening.

If you received a kit and did not complete it or it has expired, you can request an FOBT kit by:

  • completing the test request online at the bottom of this page
  • calling ColonCheck at 1-855-95-CHECK (1-855-952-4325)

If you have an abnormal FOBT result:

  • it means that blood was found in your stool.
  • it does not mean that cancer has been found.
  • you will be referred for a colonoscopy.

FOBT Kit

The FOBT (also known as the home screening test) kit is done in the privacy of your own bathroom. To do the FOBT, collect stool (poop) samples 3 days in a row. If you do not have daily bowel movements (poops), complete the test within 7 days.

Most people age 50-74 are at average risk for colon or rectal cancer and should do an FOBT (home screening test) every 2 years.

People of any age at increased risk for colon or rectal cancer may require additional testing. Speak with your healthcare provider to better understand your personal risk and which screening test is best for you.

 

Factors that impact your risk of colon or rectal cancer include a:

  • personal history of:
    • colon or rectal cancer, or polyps requiring surveillance.
    • suspicion or diagnosis of hereditary syndromes related to colon or rectal cancer (Lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis).
    • diagnosis of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
  • family history of parents, siblings or children who have been diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer at any age.

If you are unsure of your eligibility for ColonCheck, speak with your healthcare provider or contact ColonCheck.

Vitamin C

Limit your vitamin C intake to less than 250 mg per day for 3 days before, and during the time you do the test. Continue to eat your usual diet except for vitamin C, as large amounts of vitamin C may hide blood that is in the stool. Click here (pdf) to read a complete list of foods that contain vitamin C.

FOBT Kit Instructions

Instructions (PDF) to complete the FOBT kit are available in these languages:

The FOBT kit contains the following items:

  • ColonCheck invitation letter
  • reply form
  • instructions (also available in Chinese, Filipino, German, Punjabi and Vietnamese)
  • test card
  • 3 sticks
  • 3 sheets of paper to lay in the toilet bowl
  • mailing pouch for completed kit
  • postage pad return envelope (brown)

The Colon

The colon is part of your body’s digestive system (English | French (JPG)). The colon moves waste material, or things your body does not need, from the small intestine to the rectum. Together the colon and the rectum make up the large intestine (bowel).

The small intestine absorbs most of the nutrients from what you eat and then passes on the leftover waste to the colon. The colon absorbs water from the waste. What is left is called stool (feces or poop). When you have a bowel movement, the stool leaves the rectum through the anus.

Benefits & Potential Harms of Colon Cancer Screening

It important to weigh the benefits and potential harms to make an informed decision about colorectal cancer screening. No screening test is perfect.

Benefits

  • The test is safe, simple, and painless.
  • The test is done in the privacy of your own home.
  • Colon cancer screening and recommended follow-up testing can find polyps or colon cancer in its early stages when treatment is most effective.
  • Removing polyps can prevent cancer from developing.
  • Research has shown that screening with FOBT can reduce deaths from colon cancer by up to 25%.

Potential Harms

  • False positive results (test result is abnormal when everything is actually normal)
  • False negative results (test result comes back as normal when really there is an abnormality).
  • Some polyps and colon cancers do not bleed. Therefore, the FOBT will not find all polyps or cancer.
  • Completing an FOBT has little risk or harm. The follow-up test for an abnormal  FOBTest result is a colonoscopy English | French (pdf) .
    • A colonoscopy is the most effective way to diagnose colon cancer, and can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they turn into cancer.
    • Bleeding may occur after biopsies or removal of a polyp. In rare cases, you may need to receive blood or require surgery to repair a hole in the colon. In very rare cases, people have died.

Results

There are three possible home screening test results:

An abnormal result does not necessarily mean you have cancer. There are many possible reasons for blood in your stool. 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. Repeating a home screening test after a positive result is not recommended. A positive result needs further investigation, regardless of the reason.

Follow-Up Testing

When a person has a positive FOBT result:

  • ColonCheck will contact you and your health care provider, and
  • you will be referred for a colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy allows the doctor to examine the inside of your colon (bowel) and rectum. A long flexible tube ( colonoscope) with a small camera is passed into your rectum and colon. On a video monitor, the doctor looks for any abnormal areas on the lining of your colon. There can be risks with this procedure. Rarely, some people may have bleeding or other complications such as a performation (tear) in the colon that may require a hospital stay.

Resources:

If you have these symptoms...

Contact your healthcare provider iif you experience any signs or symptoms of colon cancer such as:

  • a persistent change in bowel habits,
  • blood you can see in your stool, or
  • persistent abdominal discomfort and bloating.

Screening for Other Cancers

To learn more about screening for cancers other than breast, cervical, or colorectal, click here.

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Request a ColonCheck FOBT Kit

ColonCheck recommends most people age 50-74 do a home screening test every 2 years.

Request an FOBT home screening kit from ColonCheck in one of three ways:

  1. complete the form below,
  2. phone at 1-855-95-CHECK, or
  3. ask your healthcare provider.

If you choose to complete the form below, be sure the information matches your Manitoba Health Card (e.g. full name, not short version) content.

Birthdate:

All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory.