Posted: March 1, 2016
A photo of an FOBT kit
FOBT kit

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Grand River Hospital and the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program has partnered with Cancer Care Ontario to invite eligible men to ‘Call the Shots on Colon Cancer’ and get screened with a simple take-home test.

While colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women in Ontario, it’s highly treatable when caught early. The fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is safe, painless and can be done at home.

“Colon cancer screening can be the difference between life and death,” says Dr. Rachael Halligan, Regional Primary Care Lead for the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program.  “When caught early, nine out of every 10 people with colon cancer can be cured. In its later stages, the outcomes are much worse. That’s why it’s so important for average risk people to get screened every two years with the at home test.”

Regular screening also means that you can find colon cancer before you see later stage symptoms of the disease like thin stool, diarrhea and constipation.

This March, hockey legend Darryl Sittler has partnered with Cancer Care Ontario and Colon Cancer Canada to increase awareness about the importance of screening. After losing his wife to colon cancer in 2001, Sittler now gets screened regularly and encourages his family and friends to do the same.

“People may assume that they don’t need to get screened for colon cancer if they have no symptoms, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Sittler. “Screening allows you to stay a step ahead of the game and find cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. Even if no one else in your family has had colon cancer, it’s important to get screened regularly to make sure you’re healthy.”

Cancer Care Ontario recommends that men and women at average risk aged 50 to 74 get screened for colon cancer with an FOBT test every two years.

“When a person reaches 50 years of age, the risk of colon cancer rises,” says Dr. Catherine Dubé, Clinical Lead, ColonCancerCheck, Cancer Care Ontario. “Most often, a person with colon cancer has no early warning signs. Ontarians who are between the ages of 50 and 74 or those who have a family history of colon cancer should have a conversation about screening with their healthcare provider.”

Talk to your healthcare provider today about getting screened for colon cancer with a take-home FOBT test. For more information about how you can ‘Call the Shots on Colon Cancer’, visit