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.
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.