Canada’s first province-wide, population-based colorectal cancer screening program—ColonCancerCheck—launched in Ontario in 2008. The program is a partnership between the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Cancer Care Ontario.
In 2013, an estimated 8,700 Ontarians will have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and approximately 3,350 Ontarians will die from it.
Ontario has among the highest rates of colorectal cancer in the world. Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Ontario. It is also the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men after lung cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women after lung and breast cancers.
A person with colorectal cancer has a 90% chance of being cured if the cancer is caught early enough through screening. Colorectal cancer screening can be the difference between life and death.
In 2010–2011, approximately 30% of Ontarians 50–74 years old were screened for colorectal cancer using the fecal occult blood test (FOBT).
ColonCancerCheck recommends that all Ontarians aged 50 and over be screened for colorectal cancer. For those at average risk for colorectal cancer, a simple at home test—the Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)—once every two years is recommended.
For those at increased risk because of a family history of one or more first-degree relatives (parent, sibling or child) with a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, colonoscopy is advised.