Alberta Health Services is rolling out a new screening test for colon and rectal cancers that should reduce the wait times for people at high risk for the disease.

The new at-home, non-evasive screening test is called "fit" — a fecal immunochemical test.

Dr. Steven Heitman

Dr. Steven Heitman, the clinical director for the Forzani and MacPhail Colon Cancer Screening Centre at the Foothills Hospital, unveiled the test on Wednesday. (Maureen Miller/CBC)

​AHS officials say the device will allow doctors to identify people at a greater risk. Once identified, patients are moved to the front of the line for a colonoscopy, a more complicated and invasive procedure.

Though similar tests have been available before, this one is highly automated and much easier.

Dr. Steven Heitman said it's a simple, non-invasive test that people can do in the privacy of their own bathrooms.

Heitman said the idea is to use this test as a first step in the screening process. This test, when positive, helps determine who needs a colonoscopy quickest.

Behind lung cancer, Heitman says colorectal cancers are the second-most deadly form of the disease in Alberta, but it is treatable if caught early enough.

The test results from "fit" are processed by machines that speed up the process.