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What happens after the test?

Your samples are directed to a central biochemistry laboratory within Eastern Health to be analyzed and the results are sent to the Colon Cancer Screening Program. The screening program will then forward the results to you and your family doctor. This letter will indicate if your test was normal (negative) or abnormal (positive).


    What does a normal (negative) test mean?

    A normal (negative) test means that blood was not found in your stool. However, as a member of the colon cancer screening Program, you will receive another letter and test kit in two years.


    What does an abnormal (positive) test mean?

    An abnormal (positive) test means that blood may have been found in your stool.  Do not panic, there are many reasons for blood being found in your stool.

    A positive FIT result does not necessarily mean that you have colon cancer; however, further testing is normally required to see where the blood is coming from.

    The colon cancer screening program will contact you about follow-up care.  The usual follow-up procedure that is arranged is a colonoscopy.


    What is a colonoscopDiagram of a colonoscopyy?

    Colonoscopy involves passing a thin flexible tube into the rectum and gently guiding it along the colon. This tube has a tiny camera on the end, and allows the doctor to examine the bowel for polyps. If there are polyps, the doctor will remove them during the test.

    The day before the colonoscopy, you will need to completely clean out your colon, using a laxative that will be prescribed for you. This is an important step, as it allows the doctor to have a good view of your colon. Before the test a medication will be administered to relax you. Because you have been given this medication you will need someone to drive you home.

    For most people, a colonoscopy is a straightforward procedure; however, on rare occasions, some people may have bleeding or others complications such as a perforation (tear) that may require a hospital stay.


    What happens if something is found on my colonoscopy?

    If the doctor discovers one or more polyps or cancer during your colonoscopy he/she will discuss your necessary follow-up. You will no longer be a participant of the Screening Program, but will be followed by your family doctor or specialist with the appropriate medical treatment to address the situation.


    What happens if my colonoscopy result is normal (negative)?

    You will remain a participant of the Screening Program and will be sent another FIT in five years.


    Why are people only between the ages of 50 and 74 being screened?

    More than 90 per cent of the people diagnosed with colon cancer are over the age of 50. The National Committee on Colorectal Cancer Screening has recommended that screening begin at the age of 50 for those who are considered average risk. If you have concerns or questions about screening that is right for you, please contact your family doctor.


    If colon cancer is slow-growing, why do you need to be screened every two years?

    Over the span of two years, you may develop symptoms that were not present during your last test. As well, blood may be found that was not found on your previous FIT.


    How reliable is the FIT?

    The FIT is an advanced and sensitive test, but no test is 100% accurate. There is a chance that a problem can be missed if a polyp or cancer was not bleeding when you conducted the test. That is why regular screening every two years is so important.


    If I have hemorrhoids should I take the test?

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


    Where will the colonoscopies be conducted in the eastern region?

    Follow-up colonoscopies related to the screening program will be conducted at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s. A new procedure room was established in the Endoscopy suite to increase capacity in order to handle the anticipated demand from the screening program. As capacity in other hospitals in the eastern region is enhanced, follow-up colonoscopies may be conducted outside St. John’s.  



    Get a home screening test (FIT)

    Newfoundland and Labrador Colon Cancer Screening Program



    Updated May 28, 2018