Monthly Archives: June 2019

Patient information for new FIT testing (colon cancer screening)

We want to notify you that Ontario is transitioning from the guaiac fecal occult blood test (FOBT) to the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) as the recommended screening test for people at average risk (50 to 74 years old) of developing colorectal cancer on June 24, 2019.

FIT is a more sensitive colorectal cancer screening test and detects twice as many advanced neoplasms (colorectal cancer and high risk adenomas) as gFOBT. Patients with an abnormal FIT result will then have a colonoscopy.

Key Changes:

– Only one stool sample is needed instead of the three needed for FOBT.

– No medication or dietary restrictions.

– Less contact with the stool than FOBT….so less messy!

– The kits are not available for pickup from our office. When you are due for screening, your physician will complete a requisition, send the requisition to the lab,  and the lab mails you a kit to complete. You can either: bring a completed kit either to Lifelabs (the ONLY lab that will accept it) or to our office to send to Lifelabs, or you can mail the kit. The kit must arrive at Lifelabs within 14 days of completing the kit. Also, the FIT testing kit is much more expensive than the old FOBT kit, so please complete your kit when you receive it, and try not to misplace the kit or let it expire. These kits are very costly to replace, although replacement kits can be made available if needed.

A few common questions….

What if I’m already having colonoscopies for regular screening, because of family history or previous polyps?

Then you will continue to have colonoscopies. This is only for average-risk patients.

What if I just completed an FOBT? Can I do a FIT kit now too?

The guidelines are for each patient to do one colon cancer check every 2 years, so when your time is due, we will be sending a requisition for you to do a FIT kit. We aren’t allowed to do one sooner. Remember though, colon cancers take almost a decade to grow, so you aren’t putting yourself at any risk by waiting.

Remember to read the instructions carefully, because they are different instructions than you used for the old FOBT kits. The instructions come with the kit, but here is a link if you want to get a headstart: https://www.cancercareontario.ca/sites/ccocancercare/files/assets/H-FIT_CCO154_KIT_Instructions_EN_FR.pdf

Don’t forget to include the specimen date on the label!

Call our office if you have any questions about this new program.