Immunochemical fecal occult blood test; iFOBT; Colon cancer screening - FIT
The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is a screening test for colon cancer. It tests for hidden blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of cancer. FIT only detects human blood from the lower intestines. Medicines and food do not interfere with the test. So it tends to be more accurate and have fewer false positive results than other tests.
You will be given the test to use at home. Be sure to follow the instructions provided. Most tests have the following steps:
You do not need to do anything to prepare for the test.
Some people may be squeamish about collecting the sample. But you will not feel anything during the test.
Blood in the stool may be an early sign of colon cancer. This test is performed to detect blood in the stool that you cannot see. This type of screening can detect problems that can be treated before cancer develops or spreads.
Talk with your doctor about when you should have colon screenings.
A normal result means the test did not detect any blood in the stool. However, because cancers in the colon may not always bleed, you may need to do the test a few times to confirm that there is no blood in your stool.
If the FIT results come back positive for blood in the stool, your doctor will want to perform other tests, usually including a colonoscopy. The FIT test does not diagnose cancer. Screening tests such as a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy can also help detect cancer. Both the FIT test and other screenings can catch colon cancer early, when it is easier to treat.
There are no risks from using the FIT.
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Review Date: 7/13/2019
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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