03/09/2013 04:09 EST | Updated 05/09/2013 05:12 EDT

New colon cancer screening test for Quebecers

A new home-based procedure in screening for colorectal cancer is being introduced in Quebec, provincial health minister Réjean Hébert announced yesterday.

The Fecal Immunochemical Test, or FIT test, will be rolled out in two phases.

This year, screening will be done at eight test sites, and doctors will be able to order the test for their patients.

But once fully implemented across Quebec next year, the program will be available to everyone aged 50 to 74.

People will be able to do the home test every two years. It consists of putting a stool sample into a vial and sending it off to a test centre.

The FIT test allows for screening of microscopic amounts of blood in stool; if blood is detected, a colonoscopy is in order.

“We hope people will open the envelope when they get the test, and do the test,” said Nathalie Rodrigue of Coalition Priorité Cancer Quebec.

Hebert says that type of screening will streamline cancer treatment and reserve more invasive testing for those who really need it.