By Sara Chow
THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – Complete your colon cancer screening kit once you receive it! Waiting too long is one of the main reasons kits are rejected.
The ColonCancerCheck fecal occult blood test (FOBT) kit is Ontario’s colon cancer screening test for men and women between the ages of 50 and 74 years who have no first-degree family history (i.e. parent, sibling, child) of colon cancer. The simple and painless cancer screening kit can be completed in the privacy of your own home. However, between April 2015 and November 2016 approximately 626 FOBT kits in the Northwest were rejected for varying reasons, with the top reasons being incorrect labeling, expired specimen, or using an expired card. When a kit is rejected, for varying reasons, you must complete it all over again.
Why is completing the kit correctly important? If caught early through regular cancer screening, there is a 90% chance that colon cancer can be cured.
In addition to the instructions that you are provided with to complete the kit, here are 10 tips to help you to successfully complete your FOBT kit:
- Don’t wait to complete the kit. FOBT kits have expiry dates located on the back of the card. Complete your kit in advance of this date!
- Avoid citrus fruits and juices and vitamin C supplements 3 days before the test and during the collection period.
- 3 samples over 10 days. Collect 3 samples on 3 different days, and do it within a 10-day time period from start to finish.
- Plastic wrap. Using saran wrap is great strategy to catch your stool and makes for an easy clean up. Do not to flush the saran wrap down the toilet!
- Thin sample smears work best. Keep the stool smears on the card very thin.
- 2 samples per stool. There are 2 windows on the card for each sample you take. Take 2 samples from 2 different areas of the stool when you collect your sample.
- Labels matter! Make sure you label all of the spots on the card using a ballpoint pen:
- First, Middle and Last name on the back of the card. In some cases, your health care provider might put a sticker with your information on it onto the card for you.
- Date of birth on the back of the card.
- Date and time of collection for each of the 3 samples on the front of the card.
- Requisition form must be correct. Check that the requisition form (that was given to you with the kit) is filled out correctly with your information.
- Include the kit and requisition form in the mailing envelope. Once you have completed your sample collection, put the kit in the foil-lined envelope, and then enclose the kit and requisition form in the mailing envelope.
- Mail your kit right away. Mail your kit no later than 10 days after completing the first collection!
If you don’t have a kit yet but need one, talk to your health care provider. If you don’t have a health care provider, you can get a kit from Telehealth Ontario by calling 1-866-828-9213 or by making an appointment on the Screen for Life Coach by calling 1-800-461-7031. For more information on colon cancer screening, visit www.cancercare.on.ca/colon.