Colorectal Screening Program (FIT)
Regular screening increases your chance of detecting colorectal cancer early when it is most curable, resulting in higher survival rates and less treatment and surgery.
How do I get screened for colorectal cancer?
You can be screened for colorectal cancer by:
- colonoscopy, if referred by a doctor or nurse practitioner, or
- a fecal immunochemical test (FIT).
What is the Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)?
The FIT is a test you take at home that can detect blood in your stool, which can be a sign of pre-cancer.
You can do a FIT at home by following the instructions provided with the kit. There is no preparation required for the test.
You do not need a doctor's referral to take a FIT.
Should I have a FIT?
You should do a FIT every two years if you:
• are 50-74 years of age;
• have an average risk of colon cancer.
• have not had a colonoscopy within the last five years and do not have one scheduled.
To receive a FIT, you need a PEI Health Card.
Note: If you’ve had a sigmoidoscopy or a gastroscopy, you can participate in FIT home screening.
How do I know if I am at risk of colorectal cancer?
You are of average risk for colorectal cancer if you:
- have no family history of colorectal cancer (parent or sibling); or
- are not experiencing symptoms such as:
- change in bowel movements;
- visible blood in your stool; or
- excessive vomiting.
You may be of increased risk for colorectal cancer and should consult a health professional if you:
- have a family history of colorectal cancer;
- have a personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps; or
- are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- change in bowel movements;
- blood (bright red or dark) in your stool;
- long-standing diarrhea or constipation;
- weight loss or fatigue; or
- extreme vomiting.
When should I not have a FIT test?
You should not have a FIT test if:
- you notice blood in your stool (poop);
- you have hemorrhoids that are bleeding;
- you have had a colonoscopy within the past 5 years;
- it has been less than 2 years since your last test;
- you have had colon cancer, polyps or an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis (contact your doctor or nurse practitioner as you may need a colonoscopy instead);
- you are on your period;
- you have diarrhea and you cannot collect a sample; or
- you cannot do the test within 7 days due to constipation.
How do I get a FIT kit?
Once I have the FIT kit, what do I need to do?
Follow these steps:
- Collect samples of your stool by carefully following the easy FIT instructions.
- Do not keep any samples in the freezer.
- You should only take a sample from one bowel movement per day.
- Write your name and collection date on the collection card using a permanent pen.
- Deliver your FIT kit to
- a health centre or hospital listed below;
- a doctor's office with a lab run; or,
- by mail to the lab if you received a prepaid return envelope.
What if I do not have a bowel movement each day and it takes more than three days for me to complete the test?
- Collect the first sample and keep it in the fridge, then collect the second sample on the third or fourth day and bring both samples to the nearest hospital lab as soon as possible (48 hours).
- You can also drop off the first sample and bring in the second sample later.
- If more than 10 days have passed between the collection and the analysis, you must repeat the test.
Where are the drop-off locations?
At the specimen collection counter in a hospital:
- Queen Elizabeth Hospital, 60 Riverside Dr, Charlottetown
- Prince County Hospital, 65 Roy Boates Ave, Summerside
- Souris Hospital, 17 Knights Ave, Souris
- Kings County Memorial Hospital, 409 MacIntyre Ave, Montague
- Community Hospital, 14 MacKinnon Dr, O’Leary
- Western Hospital, 148 Poplar St, Alberton
At the following health centres:
- Charlottetown: 152 St. Peters Road - Four Neighborhoods Health Centre
- Charlottetown: 199 Grafton Street - The Polyclinic, Dr. McKenna and NP Stephanie MacDonald's office
- Souris: 7 Green Street - Eastern Kings Health Centre
- Montague: 407 MacIntyre Avenue - Montague Health Centre
- Hunter River: 4276 Hopedale Road - Central Queens Health Centre
- North Rustico: 7379 Cavendish Road, Rte 6 - Gulf Shore Health Centre
- Kensington: 55 Victoria Street - Kensington Health Centre
- Tyne Valley: 6905 Route 12, Tyne Valley Health Centre
- O'Leary: 14 MacKinnon Drive - O'Leary Health Centre
At a doctor's office that has a lab-run. Ask your doctor's office for drop off.
What happens after I return the kit?
If your result was normal, you will receive a letter in the mail.
There may be a chance that you could still have cancer or polyps. Because polyps don't always bleed or the sample may have missed blood, regular screening every two years is essential.
If your kit tested positive (blood was found in the stool):
You will receive a letter in the mail and a member of the Colorectal Cancer Diagnostic Navigation team will contact you to:
- Provide a telephone health assessment
- Set up a colonoscopy appointment, if appropriate
- Provide bowel prep and procedure information, if appropriate
Note: The Colorectal Cancer Diagnostic Navigation Program is a pilot program of Health PEI to meet the national target of having a colonoscopy procedure withing 60 days of a positive fecal test result. If you have any questions, call 1-855-733-0762 (toll-free) to speak with a member of the navigation program team or email firstname.lastname@example.org.