Researchers this week report at home stool kits, known as a fecal immunochemical test (FIT), detect 79 percent of colon cancers. Although a colonoscopy is still the “gold standard” for finding and removing cancerous polyps in the colon, the FIT test can detect blood, which is often the first sign of cancer, in a more convenient screening that can be completed in the privacy of your own home.
“When you catch colon cancer in the earliest stages, you can go in and have surgery and you’re done versus needing surgery, and chemotherapy and possibly even radiation,” explains Denise Wiley, RN, OCN, Nurse Navigator at Renown Institute for Cancer.
The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) recommends either a colonoscopy every 10 years or an annual FIT screening as the preferred test for colorectal cancer screenings starting at age 50. African Americans should begin screenings at age 45. Wiley encourages those with a family history to speak with their doctor about the right screening schedule.
“Whether you’ve been meaning to schedule a colonoscopy, or you’d just like some extra peace of mind, the FIT test is a great first screening to help detect any concerns early,” Wiley says.
Home Screening Test Detects 79% of Colorectal Cancers
An inexpensive, home-based test could be a good way to get more Americans screened for colorectal cancer, the country’s second-leading cause of cancer death, a new study suggests.
Screening patients with a single FIT — or fecal immunochemical test — detected 79% of colorectal cancers, according to a report in today’s Annals of Internal Medicine.
That compares well to colonoscopies, which find more than 95% of colorectal cancers, says lead author Jeffrey Lee, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland and the University of California, San Francisco.
Although doctors have debated the best method of screening for colorectal cancer, most agree on the importance of getting more people tested, no matter what method. About 30% of eligible adults have never been screened at all, Lee says.
But squeamishness can put people at higher risk of dying from an often preventable disease, says Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer at the American Cancer Society, who was not involved in the new study. […]
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