Colorectal Cancer Screening in Ontario has Changed
On June 24, 2019, the province began using the fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
Colorectal Cancer Screening in Ontario has Changed
On June 24, 2019, the province began using the fecal immunochemical test (FIT)

The information below was prepared by the OMA and is intended to support members with understanding the practical impacts of this program change.

The sections of General Surgery and Gastroenterology, along with the American Gastroenterological Association and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force support colonoscopy as an approach to screening for colorectal cancer.

Read the open letter to family physicians from the Chairs of the OMA sections on General Surgery and Gastroenterology here. This letter reflects the opinion of the OMA sections on General Surgery and Gastroenterology.


What Members Need to Know

Effective June 24th, Ontario switched to the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) to screen for colorectal cancer in asymptomatic, average risk patients aged 50-74. Once FIT becomes available, the guaiac fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) will not be recommended by the ColonCancerCheck program.

What's changing:
  1. The type of test
  2. The referral form used to order the test
  3. The way that patients receive the test kit - it will be mailed directly to them
Reasons for the switch to FIT:
  • A more sensitive test
  • Specific for human hemoglobin
  • Easier for patients (increases participation in screening)
    • No dietary restrictions
    • No medicine restrictions
    • Only 1 stool sample required

ColonCancerCheck gFOBT laboratory providers will continue to process gFOBT kits until December 23, 2019 so that patients who have already been given gFOBT kits can still submit their samples for processing.

For more information, visit the Cancer Care Ontario FIT Resource Hub.

For more information and resources, contact Cancer Care Ontario:

Visit: Cancer Care Ontario FIT Resource Hub
By phone: toll-free at 1.866.662.9233 from Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
By email: screenforlife@cancercare.on.ca

Updated: August 19, 2019