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FAQ - Colon cancer screening

Why do you test for colon cancer in people who have no symptoms?

When cancer is in its early stage, most people don't have any symptoms. The earlier polyps or colon cancer are found, the more successful the treatment. Colon cancer develops slowly. It can take up to 10 years for a precancerous polyp to develop into cancer. If polyps are removed, it can prevent cancer from developing.

My doctor or nurse has told me I have hemorrhoids, should I complete the home screening test?

You may complete the test as long as your hemorrhoids are not bleeding.

I have noticed there is blood in my stool and I think it is from hemorrhoids, but I am not sure. Should I complete the home screening test?

No, do not complete the test if you have blood in your stool or notice any sign of bleeding after a bowel movement. Even if hemorrhoids are present, bleeding may be occurring as a result of another more serious problem and needs to be investigated. Contact your health care provider for an appointment.

Sometimes when I strain during a bowel movement, I notice blood in the stool. This doesn't happen all of the time. Should I complete the home screening test?

No, do not complete the test if you have blood in your stool or notice any sign of bleeding after a bowel movement. Even if hemorrhoids are present, bleeding may be occurring as a result of another more serious problem and needs to be investigated. Contact your doctor or nurse for an appointment.

If I completed the home screening test and the result was normal, is there any chance I could still have cancer or polyps?

Yes, because:

  • Polyps don't always bleed, so irregular bleeding may be missed. The sample may have been taken on a day when the polyps weren't bleeding.

  • The test sample may have deteriorated between collection and analysis.

  • The home screening test may miss blood in a sample.

If colon cancer develops slowly, why screen every two years?

Blood may have been missed in earlier tests or small changes may have occurred since the previous test. Regular screening ensures the best opportunity to find polyps or cancer in the earliest stage.

What if I completed a home screening test at my doctor or nurse's office?

If you have completed a home screening test in the past two years, you do not need to complete the test. Return the test to ColonCheck in the postage-paid envelope. If it has been longer than 2 years since your last test, you can do the test.

What if I have had a sigmoidoscopy or gastroscopy?

You can participate in this screening program. Call ColonCheck at 204-788-8635 or toll free at 1 (866) 744-8961 to see if you meet the other eligibility requirements, and request a home screening test.

What if I have had colon cancer, polyps or an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's or ulcerative colitis?

Do not do the home screening test. You may need to have a colonoscopy instead of the home screening test. If you have these conditions and have questions about whether you need a colonoscopy, see your doctor or nurse.

What if I have an ostomy?

If you have an ostomy, the home screening test may not be appropriate for you. We recommend that you check with your doctor or nurse and discuss your personal history and what is best for you.

What if I would still would like to do the home screening test, even though I do not meet the criteria for ColonCheck Manitoba?

Please visit your doctor or nurse to discuss if the test is right for you. If you don't have a family doctor or nurse practitioner, call the Family Doctor Connection Line at 204-786-7111 or 1-866-690-8260, or visit ww.nursepractitioner.ca

I got the test kit from ColonCheck and would like to do the test, but I can't do it at this time. Can I keep the test and complete it later?

Yes. If we do not receive a response from you in 8 weeks, you will get a reminder letter as our system is automatically set up to send a reminder at 6 - 8 weeks. Each test has an expiration date on the back. If your test has expired and you would like a new one, call us to mail it out to you.

 

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