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What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a cancer of the colon or the rectum.  It generally develops from polyps in the colon or the rectum that can turn cancerous.  According to Cancer Care Ontario, early detection of cancerous polyps through screening increases the chance of curing colorectal cancer by 90 per cent.

What are the Symptoms?

Cancer Care Ontario describes common symptoms of colorectal cancer as:

  • a change in your bowel movements

  • diarrhea, constipation or a feeling that your bowel does not empty completely

  • stools that are narrower than usual

  • blood in your stool

  • stomach discomfort (bloating, fullness or cramps)

  • unexpected weight loss

  • fatigue

Who should be screened for Colorectal Cancer?

If you are 50 years of age or older and do not have a family history of colorectal disease, you may be able to use the home screening kit - the Fecal Occult blood Test kit.  Kits are available through your health care provider or at your pharmacist.

If you have a family history of colorectal disease (e.g. parent, child, brother or sister), you are at greater risk of developing colorectal cancer and may be screened using colonoscopy.  Screening may begin before age 50 for individuals who are at greater risk.

Speak with your health care provider about the best screening method for you.  For more information, please go to or call 1-866-410-5853.

Additional Resource

Colorectal Cancer Screening - Cancer Care Ontario