Get checked for colon cancer. Spread the word. Have a colonversation.

It’s time to start talking:

Talk to your doctor
Your doctor can tell you about getting checked for colon cancer. Talk to your doctor if

  • you’re 50 or older OR
  • someone in your family has had colon or rectal cancer OR
  • you have a high risk of getting colon cancer OR
  • you have symptoms of colon cancer

Talk to your family
There are at least 2 good reasons to talk to your family about colon cancer:

  • to find out if anyone in your family has had colon or rectal cancer
  • to make sure the people you care about know they should get checked

Talk to your friends
Talking to your friends about getting checked for colon cancer could save their life.

  • Make sure your friends know how important it is to get checked and that they should get checked regularly.
  • Encourage them to find out if anyone in their family has had colon or rectal cancer.
  • Tell everyone you know age 50 or older to get checked.

Not sure how to get the conversation started?

 Don’t have a doctor?
Screening is available for all Canadians. Find out where you can get checked

Tips for talking with your doctor

It is important to talk to your health-care provider about colon health. Your health-care provider may be your family doctor, a nurse practitioner or another health-care professional at your community clinic.

Before your appointment, find out about your family’s history with cancer.

Ask your family these questions:

  • Do you have any immediate relatives (parent, sibling or child) who have been diagnosed with colon cancer or another cancer?
  • At what age were they diagnosed?

Here are some questions you can ask your doctor about colon cancer screening.

  • When should I get checked for colon cancer?
  • Which test is right for me?
  • How do I prepare for the test?
  • When will I know the results? Who will contact me with the results?
  • How often do I need to get checked?

Learn about colon cancer screening in your area.

Tips for talking with family and friends

Colon health is probably not the first thing you talk about when you get together with family or friends. But it’s better to talk about getting checked now than it is to talk about having colon cancer later.

Share what you know with someone you care about

  • Start a conversation by saying you have an appointment with your doctor and that you are going to ask about colon cancer screening. Then, share what you know about getting checked.
  • Mention that your health routine includes getting checked for colon cancer. Tell them about the test and how you found out about it.
  • Tell them that you got your stool test kit.

Tell them about

If your friend or relative is often online, tell them you saw an interesting website and send them a link to

Last updated: March 30, 2017

  • Thousands of men and women in Canada die from colon cancer each year.
  • If all Canadians 50 and older got checked for colon cancer before signs and symptoms appeared, about 1,500 lives a year would be saved.

When cancer starts to grow in the colon, people usually don’t have any symptoms. In fact, it can grow for many years before any symptoms appear.

That’s why it’s better to get checked regularly than to wait for symptoms to tell you that you’ve got colon cancer.

Possible symptoms include

  • blood in the stool
  • change in bowel habits (going more often or less often than normal)
  • diarrhea, constipation or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • stools that are narrower than usual
  • general discomfort in your stomach area (frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps)
  • weight loss for no known reason
  • feeling very tired all the time
  • vomiting

Often, these symptoms are not caused by colon cancer. Other health problems may be causing them. Talk to your doctor.