Colorectal Cancer

Facts about colorectal cancer and screening:

  • Screening helps prevent colorectal cancer.
  • Early detection and treatment saves lives.
  • Colorectal cancer screening should start at age 50.
  • Ontario has among the highest rates of colorectal cancer in the world. Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Ontario, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women.


Facts about Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) Kits

  • They work by detecting microscopic blood that can come from colon polyps or early stage colorectal cancer
  • Done every two years, they can help find polyps and cancers early.
  • They are simlpe, done at home, and returned by mail.
  • If the FOBT is positive for blood you will be referred for a colonoscopy.
  • FOBT kits should be completed every two years starting at age 50.


Helpful tips and reminders about completing the FOBT kit:

  • Put the kit in the bathroom so it will be there when you need to use it.
  • Try to complete the kit within a week of receiving it.
  • Write the collection dates on each completed stool sample area.
  • Mail the completed kit as soon as possible; there are instructions on the kit indicating how soon the kit needs to be mailed after completing it.
  • Call the number on the kit if you have any problems.
  • Call your doctor's office if you have any other questions about FOBT or need a new kit.

Cervical Cancer

Facts about Papanicolaou (PAP) tests and screening:

  • A PAP test is a simple test that helps prevent cervical cancer by detecting cell changes that, if left untreated, can turn into cervical cancer.
  • Screening is the only way to detect the early changes that might lead to cervical cancer.
  • You should have PAP tests done beginning at age 21. If the results are normal, then you should have one done every three years. If the results are not normal, your physician will talk to you about what the results mean.
  • Early detection and treatment of cervical cancer saves lives.


How is a PAP test completed?

  • The cervix is at the top of the vagina. To do the test you will be asked to lie down and an instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina and opened to allow the cervix to be seen. The PAP test is then taken by using a small brush and read in a laboratory. PAP smears are not painful.


Helpful tips and reminders regarding booking your PAP test:

  • Your family physician will need to know the start date of your last menstrual cycle, if applicable, so keep this in mind when attending your appointment.

Breast Cancer

Facts about mammograms and screening:

  • A mammogram takes an X-ray picture of the breast and can find changes in the breast even when they are too small for you or your healthcare provider to feel or see.
  • Screening is the only way to detect the early changes that might suggest breast cancer.
  • You should have routine mammogram screening beginning at age 50 or sooner depending on your personal health history and your family history.
  • Depending on what is seen on the mammogram, more imaging or tests might be required. Most women who need more tests do not have breast cancer.
  • Early detection and treatment of breast cancer saves lives.


Why have a mammogram?

  • In Ontario, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women.
  • As women get older, the chance of getting breast cancer rises.
  • Mammograms can help to find small breast cancers before there are symptoms. If breast cancer is found at an early stage there is a high rate of successful treatment.


Helpful tips and reminders getting ready for your mammogram:

  • Most women’s breasts are tender the week before and after their period. Book your mammogram for a time when your breasts are not so tender.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit. You will be asked to remove your top.
  • Do not use deodorants, antiperspirants, body lotions, or talcum powders. Metals in these products can show up on the X-ray picture.