Temporary Suspension, Colon Cancer Prevention Program: Q&A

Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) is suspending Colon Cancer Prevention Program operations until further notice, as all health care efforts focus on responding to the COVID 19 pandemic. This means home screening kits will no longer be mailed out.
Below are a list of frequently asked questions and answers:
Why is the program being suspended? 
NSHA cancelled the mailing of home screening tests because current health care efforts are focused on managing the COVID-19 pandemic. 
How long will it be suspended? 
We don’t know, but we will notify the public as soon as we restart the program.
Should I complete the test kit you sent me?
Please wait until the program restarts. Your home screening test is good until the last day of the month printed on the tube. If your screening test has expired when the program restarts, you can call us and we will send you another kit.
I completed my test and sent it in.  What will happen to my test?
Home screening kits already at the lab and those that are already in the mail will be processed, but the results will not be mailed to you. 
Participants looking for their screening result may call 1-866-599-2267 and leave their name and health card number. Someone will return their call. 
Participants who test positive for trace amounts of blood in the stool will be notified by a screening nurse who will answer questions and ease concerns; however, appointments for follow-up colonoscopies will not be scheduled until the screening program has restarted.
I have symptoms. What should I do?
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should speak with a health care provider:
  • Often see blood mixed with your stool
  • Have a change in your bowel habit that lasts for more than a few weeks
  • Have any other worrying symptoms


Should I be concerned that I have to wait for a home screening test?
Colon cancer develops from certain kinds of polyps (growths) in the colon that can take up to a dozen years before developing into cancer. The home screening kit is designed to find pre-cancers and cancer before there are any warning signs. For this reason waiting a few extra months for the home screening kit is no cause for concern. However, anyone who has concerns about colon cancer or possible warning signs should not wait for a home screening kit. These individuals should speak with their family doctor or health care provider.
I had an abnormal screening test and need a colonoscopy.

All screening colonoscopies which are currently booked will be cancelled until further notice.

NSHA is contacting scheduled patients and clients directly to notify them of cancellations.

When the situation in our province has returned to normal, you will be contacted to arrange an appointment.

You sent me a letter saying I would receive the kit and I didn’t receive it. When should I expect it?
We cancelled the mailing of home screening tests because current health care efforts are focused on managing the COVID-19 pandemic.  When the situation in our province returns to normal, we will mail home screening tests to eligible Nova Scotians.  
(Last updated: April 9, 2020)