Colorectal cancer screening in Canada: Environmental scan (Released: 2017)

Review this summary from April 2017 of key components for colorectal cancer screening programs and strategies across Canada

As of 2017, organized colorectal cancer screening programs are available in nine provinces and one territory. No screening programs are available in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Quebec, but plans are underway to develop provincial or territorial programs.

The programs screen individuals who are at an average risk for colorectal cancer, and show no signs or symptoms. Where organized screening programs are not available, a primary care provider may offer screening.

Data is collected annually about provincial and territorial colorectal cancer screening guidelines, strategies, and activities for helping inform policies and practices.

 Discover more about these highlights:

  • The first colorectal cancer screening program started in March 2007 in Alberta. Most recently, a colorectal screening program was implemented in December 2016 in the Yukon.
  • Provinces and territories use a fecal occult blood test (either guaiac or FIT) to screen individuals who are at an average risk for colorectal cancer and show no signs or symptoms, starting at 50 years of age to 74 or 75 years, every one to two years. Most provinces and territories wait two years between screenings, except the Northwest Territories and Alberta which wait one to two years.

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