Study: nearly half of colorectal cancer cases in Canada diagnosed after they've spread

New statistics find almost half of the colorectal cancers in Canada are discovered after they've already spread.

That's despite the fact that most provinces and territories have screening programs that can catch the disease in its early stages.

The report by the Canadian Cancer Society says about 29 per cent of colorectal cancers are diagnosed at stage 3, and 20 per cent are diagnosed at stage 4.

That has the society urging those between the ages of 50 and 74 who are not high risk to get tested every two years.

They point to an at-home stool test can even detect pre-cancerous signs.

One of the report's authors, Dr. Leah Smith, says early detection is key to boosting survival rates, but relatively few people seem to be taking advantage of organized screening programs.