Date: July 17, 2019

Showers or thunderstorms ending near noon then mainly cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. Local amount 15 to 25 mm. High 28. Humidex 37. UV index 7 or high.


Feels like 34C

Environment Canada
Text Size >   A   A   A

Printer Friendly

Cancer Prevention Links

Occupational Cancer Research Centre

Screening Resources for Newcomers & Immigrants (Cancer Care Ontario)

Colorectal Cancer

This page was reviewed or revised on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 11:14 AM

What Is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. These cancers can be called colon cancer (large intestine) or rectal cancer (last 15 cm of the colon) depending on where they start. Together, they are called colorectal cancer. When caught early with regular screening, colorectal cancer is 90% curable.

Colorectal cancer usually starts from tiny growths inside the colon called polyps. Some polyps can become cancerous.

On average, 448 Canadians are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every week; 176 die from the disease every week. An estimated 1 in 13 men and 1 in 16 women will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime.

In Ontario (2014) there were 8,900 new colorectal cancer cases and 3,400 deaths.
[Source: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014 - Canadian Cancer Society, Statistics Canada, Provincial/Territorial Cancer Registries, Public Health Agency of Canada]

Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

During the early stages of colorectal cancer, there are usually no symptoms. Later, symptoms may include:

  • Bleeding and blockage of the bowel
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Blood (bright red or very dark) in the stool. (If you just ate beets, do not be alarmed!)
  • Diarrhea, constipation or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Stools are narrower than usual
  • Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling very tired
  • Vomiting

These symptoms can be caused by other health problems. See your health-care provider if you have some of the symptoms.

Reducing Your Risk

Reduce your risk of colorectal cancer and other cancers by eating a healthy diet based on Canada’s Food Guide, keeping your weight in a healthy range, and being physically active every day.

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Red meat (beef, pork, lamb and goat) is a valuable source of nutrients including protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12; however high intakes of red meat increase the risk of cancer.
  • Eat red meat (beef, pork, lamb and goat) less often (no more than once a day) and have smaller portions (2½ oz. serving based on Canada’s Food Guide).
  • Include chicken, fish, beans, lentils, eggs, nuts, seeds and nut butters as other meats and meat alternatives.
  • Limit your intake of processed meats like sausage, hotdogs, ham and bacon to special occasions.
  • Do not smoke, and limit alcohol consumption.

To learn more about colorectal cancer risk factors and how to reduce them, visit My CancerIQ

Who Should Be Screened for Colorectal Cancer?

Men and women aged 50-74 years, with no family history of colorectal cancer, and no personal history of pre-cancerous colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease (i.e. Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis), should have a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) every 2 years. Positive tests should be followed with a colonoscopy.

A Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) is a test done in your own home. It can find small amounts of blood in your stool. Your doctor or nurse practitioner can provide a Fecal Occult Blood Test kit. Learn more about the colon cancer home screening test. A positive test does not mean you have colorectal cancer but does require follow-up.

Men and women with a family history of colorectal cancer should have a colonoscopy at age 50, or 10 years earlier than when a parent, brother or sister was diagnosed, or whichever happens first.

Take the first step by asking your doctor or nurse practitioner about colorectal cancer screening. They will let you know what test is right for you. If you do not have a doctor or nurse practitioner, you can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to discuss what screening option is right for you.

For more information visit Cancer Care Ontario.