Screening Programs

Although there are screening programs available in most Canadian provinces and territories, 1 in 2 colorectal cancers are diagnosed in stages III and IV (Canadian Cancer Statistics, 2018).

Several provinces and territories offer one or more tests for colorectal cancer screening. The most common test is the fecal occult blood test (FOBT). Please check your province or territory for additional information.

Alberta

The Alberta Colorectal Cancer Screening Program recommends that average-risk men and women aged 50 to 74 years of age participate in colorectal cancer screening using the FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test) every 1-2 years. The FIT is a home stool test that finds blood in the stool.

Alberta Health Services develops and implements activities that help contribute to the prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer.

Services include:

  • Providing increased access to colorectal cancer screening services across the province.
  • Providing information and education to target age groups and healthcare providers.
  • Mailing FIT home stool test result letters (abnormal and normal) to men and women between 50 and 74 years of age.
  • Providing colorectal cancer screening quality assurance.
  • Supporting continual quality improvement in the delivery of colorectal cancer screening services based on feedback from Albertans, healthcare providers, and research information.

For more information, visit screening for life.ca

British Columbia

Colorectal cancer screening is available through family physicians. Usually, the testing is only done if the patient is symptomatic or if there is cause for concern. Colorectal screening is not conducted as a precautionary test before symptoms arise.

You can view BC Cancer’s website here.

Phone: 1-877-702-6566

Twitter: @BCCancer

Manitoba

CancerCare Manitoba has launched a program called Colon Check, which is funded by Manitoba Health. The program targets men and women between the ages of 50-74. The program is for people who have no symptoms of colon cancer and is intended to find cancer early when treatment may be more effective, and to find and treat polyps before they develop into cancer. The test can be completed at home and mailed in.

For more information about the test or to request a test, go to the CancerCare Manitoba website, or call 1-855-95-CHECK.
Email: coloncheck@cancercare.mb.ca

New Brunswick

The NB Colon Cancer Screening Program was developed by the New Brunswick Cancer Network at the Department of Health with the goal of decreasing the number of colon cancer deaths in New Brunswick. The program will invite all New Brunswickers aged 50 to 74 to participate in regular colon cancer screening.

The program is an active member of the National Colorectal Cancer Screening Network, under the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

To learn more, please click here or call 1-844-777-3443.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador has implemented a Provincial Colorectal Cancer Screening Program. This screening will be overseen by Eastern Health as part of its responsibility for the Provincial Cancer Care Program. The program targets men and women between the ages of 50-74. Screening will help increase early detection of cancer and contribute to cancer survival.

To request a home screening kit, call  1-855-614-0144 or email nlccsp@easternhealth.ca.

For any further questions on the testing in Newfoundland and Labrador, please speak to your healthcare provider.

Northwest Territories

Testing for colorectal cancer can be done through a healthcare provider, clinics or community health centre. Patients between the ages of 50-74 are eligible for testing.

Talk to your healthcare provider or visit the NWT cancer website.

Nova Scotia

The Colon Cancer Prevention Program (CCPP) was developed by Cancer Care Nova Scotia. It is a screening program designed to help detect cancer and pre-cancerous growths in Nova Scotians aged 50-74.

All Nova Scotians aged 50-74 will be sent a colon cancer screening kit, which they can complete in the privacy of their own home.

If you have any questions, please call: 1-866-599-2267, email cancercareinfo@nshealth.ca, or visit their website.

Nunavut

Nunavut does not have an organized colorectal screening program in place, though the government has announced plans to develop one. Please see your doctor or visit your clinic.

Ontario

The Ontario colorectal screening program is called ColonCancerCheck. It is a provincial program that allows people above 50 to perform the the Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) in the privacy of their homes. This test is for people who are asymptomatic and appear to be in good health. Once the test is performed, a letter is sent to the patient as well as their family doctor or nurse practitioner with the results. It is recommended that patients take the FOBT test once every two years. Colonoscopies are reserved for positive test results, and can be scheduled with a doctor or nurse practitioner.

FOBT tests are available from family doctors. Patients who do not have family doctors can access the test by calling Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-828-9213 or by visiting a mobile screening coach.

For more information about the ColonCancerCheck program, please click here.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island has a colorectal screening program in place for people over 50. The Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) can be picked up at doctor’s offices or at clinics. It is performed at home and returned to a hospital or doctor’s office when completed. The results are then mailed directly to the patient. A FIT should be performed every two years.

For more information about PEI screening information, go to Get Screened PEI. To find a location to pick up a FIT kit, click here.

More details at Get Screened PEI.

Call 1-888-561-2233 ?(toll-free) or (902) 368-5901, or email colcerscreening@ihis.org.

Quebec

Quebec an organized colorectal screening program in place. It is for people of average risk, from the ages of 50 to 74 or those below 50 years of age who are at higher risk. People in the target group (ages 50-74) will receive a letter inviting them to take part in the screening program. Depending on the results of the screening test, they will receive the appropriate follow-up.

Screening is done using the immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT). For more information, talk to your healthcare provider or visit their website.

Saskatchewan

The Screening Program for Colorectal Cancer (SPCRC) is a population-based screening program for the detection of colorectal cancer. The program is coordinated by the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency in partnership with the health regions, and funded by the Ministry of Health. It is a province-wide program.

For more information about the SPCRC program, visit the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, or call 1-855-292-2202 toll-free.

Yukon

Residents of the Yukon can get a take-home test which requires no preparation and only one sample. You simply  follow the instructions included in your kit then bring your completed sample along with your requisition within 2-3 days (sooner the better) to any of the health centres in the communities; Dawson or Watson Community Hospital; or to Whitehorse General Hospital lab. Whitehorse General Hospital lab will analyze your sample and send your results to your primary health care provider. There are many reasons for a positive FIT test result, cancer or pre-cancerous signs are just one of them. If your results are normal you will receive a letter from the program to re-invite you to screen in two years.

For more information or to request a screening test, contact ColonCheck Yukon at 867-667-5497 or toll free: 1-844-347-9856.