Endangered Butts: What’s your poop telling you?

Sponsored by GNWT Department of Health and Social Services 

Do you have a loved one turning 50 this year? Searching for that perfect gift, but nothing comes to mind? Well, look no further – the fecal immunochemical test, more commonly known as the FIT, is just what every 50-74 year old needs. Nothing says “I love you” like the gift of colorectal cancer screening.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer related death in the NWT. Cancer screening detects early signs of cancer, giving you more treatment options that could very well save your life. Even so, only 20% of NWT residents aged 50-74 took the FIT in 2011-2012.

The FIT is a simple stool test used to screen for colorectal cancer. The test is available in all health centers, can be done at home, and does not have any dietary restrictions. Healthy men and women aged 50-74 are recommended to take the FIT every 1-2 years. Individuals with a family history of cancer should discuss with their health care provider whether they are eligible for the FIT or other testing at an earlier age.

FIT kits can be picked up from your local health center. The FIT kit includes three collection cards and three applicator sticks. All you have to do is smear small stool samples on the collection cards, three days in a row. Each day a new collection card and applicator stick should be used. Stool samples can be collected by wrapping the toilet bowl in plastic wrap/newspaper or using a clean dry container such as a paper bowl.

1. Write your name, date of birth, doctor’s name, and collection date on the front of the collection card.

2. Use the applicator stick to collect a pea-size stool sample and apply it to the top half of the window on the collection card.

3. Use the same applicator stick to collect another pea-size sample from a different part of the stool and apply it to the bottom half of the window.

4. Mix the samples together, pressing gently to spread it over the whole window.

5. Throw away the applicator stick and collection materials.

6. Close the collection card.

7. Repeat these steps over the next two days. Deliver all three collection cards in the sealed mailing pouch to your health center within 10 days of Day 1 of collection.

Cancer Screening saves lives. Don’t wait until it is too late.

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