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Prevention starts with early detection and a healthy lifestyle.

Colorectal Cancer

The colon and rectum are parts of the large intestine and the digestive system. Colon and rectal cancers are grouped together as colorectal cancer because these organs are made of the same tissues and there isn’t a clear border between them.

Colon cancer starts in the cells of the colon. Cells in the colon sometimes change and no longer grow or behave normally. In some cases, changes to colon cells can cause colon cancer. Most often, colon cancer starts in gland cells that line the wall of the colon.

Colon cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in the very early stages of the disease when the tumour is still small. Symptoms often only appear when it spreads to nearby tissues and organs.
Icone showing the 5-year survival rate of colon cancer

The Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)

The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) allows early detection of colorectal cancer. Given that colorectal cancer often leaves traces of blood in the stool (poop) that are invisible to the naked eye, this at-home test involves collecting a very small stool sample that is later analyzed in the laboratory.

This simple test can reveal the presence of cancer at an early stage. Colorectal cancer best responds to treatment and has the highest odds of survival when it is detected and treated early on, before the disease can spread beyond the colon.

This quick and painless test can be done without assistance, in the comfort of your own home.
Icone showing the 5-year survival rate of colon cancer

Colon Cancer Detection

If you’re between the ages of 50 and 74, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends taking the FIT every two years, even if you don’t have symptoms or aren’t at high risk for colorectal cancer. And it’s even more important for those with a family history to take the test.

How to get the test?

Ask your family doctor or a doctor/nurse practitioner from a walk-in clinic about the test. These health professionals can give you a prescription for a free sample collection kit with instructions.

Let's shatter taboos and talk about prevention and early detection. Together, let's dethrone colon cancer!

A Healthy Lifestyle

Lifestyle and age are the two main risk factors associated with the development of colon cancer.

Avoid smoking.

Be active for at least 30 minutes every day.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Limit your alcohol intake.

Limit your consumption of red meat
and processed meats.

Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and high-fibre foods.

Favour whole-grain cereals.


For more information, contact the Canadian Cancer Society by email or by phone at 1 888 939-3333.