Colon Cancer


Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in Canada for men and women. And colon cancer rates in Island women are higher than the national average. You probably won’t see or feel anything wrong in its early stages because there’s lots of room for a tumour to grow and expand in your lower abdomen. Screening can find colon cancer before you have symptoms. Found early, it can usually be treated successfully.

Screening for Colon Cancer

If you’re of average risk between the age of 50 and 74, have a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) at least every 2 years. This test checks your stool for blood that you may not know is there and helps to identify polyps before they become cancerous.

You can pick up a FIT KIT at any family health centre or medical clinic on P.E.I.  Please visit this website to find the centre closest to you:

It’s a simple process you do at home and return to your family health centre or local hospital for testing.  Results will be mailed to you directly.

If your FIT shows traces of blood, your doctor will perform follow up tests that may include:

  • A colonoscopy: A test that lets your doctor look at the lining of your colon using a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at the end.

  • A sigmoidoscopy: Like a colonoscopy, but your doctor looks at your rectum and the lower part of your colon.

You are of average risk if you

  • Are 50-74 years of age

  • Do not have family history of colorectal cancer (parent or sibling)

  • Are not experiencing any signs or symptoms such as changes in bowel movements, visible blood in your stool or excessive vomiting.

You may be of increased risk and should consult your family doctor or health professional if you:

  • Have a family history of colorectal cancer

  • Have a personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps

  • Are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

    • change in bowel movements

    • blood (bright red or very dark) in your stool

    • long standing diarrhea or constipation

    • weight loss or fatigue

    • extreme vomiting

For colon cancer screening program details call:

PEI Colorectal Cancer Screening Program: 1-888-561-2233

Visit for more information about colorectal cancer screening in PEI.

For general cancer screening information call:

Cancer Information Service: 1-888-939-3333