The Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is the name given to the health screening test that can identify signs of bowel cancer. It can indicate the presence of cancerous or precancerous growths in the bowel by simply identifying blood in your stool that might not be visible to the naked eye.

See also: What Affects Bowel Function?


How accurate is a FIT test for bowel cancer?


According to studies undertaken by the National Institutes of Health, FIT tests are overall highly accurate - this is simply due to them being both highly sensitive and highly specific [1].

See also: What are the Early Signs of Bowel Cancer?


How does the FIT test work?


If a polyp or tumour is growing in the bowel or the rectum, small amounts of blood may be deposited on the stool as it passes through. The FIT Test works by:

  • Identifying small traces of blood that may be hidden
  • Detecting human haemoglobin in the stool and so other sources of blood, such as from your diet will not cause a positive result

See also: What are the Risk Factors Associated With Bowel Cancer?


What happens if blood is found in my stool?


If blood is detected in your stool, your doctor will recommend further assessment. This may involve a colonoscopy to identify the reasoning behind the traces of blood [2].

It’s important to keep in mind that polyps and tumours don’t always bleed - this is why it’s so important to take a sample from different bowel movements and to screen regularly [3].

See also: What Causes a Change in Bowel Movements?


According to The American Cancer Society, when bowel cancer is found at an early stage before it has spread, the 5-year relative survival rate is about 90% which is why early screening and detection are crucial.

You can take a FIT test from the comfort of your own home with LetsGetChecked’s at-home Bowel Cancer Screening Test with online results available within 5 days and medical support on hand for any questions you may have.

You should consider taking the test if:

  • You are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms
  • You have a history of adenomas (benign tumors)
  • You have inflammatory bowel disease* (which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • You have an inherited syndrome (e.g. Lynch syndrome/HNPCC or FAP)
  • You have type 2 diabetes
  • You have undergone radiation therapy

See also: How can you Screen for Bowel Cancer From Home?



References

  1. National Institutes of Health. Accuracy of Fecal Immunochemical Tests for Colorectal Cancer. Online: Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, 2014
  2. American Cancer Society. Tests to Diagnose and Stage Colorectal Cancer. Online: cancer.org, 2018
  3. American Cancer Society. Tests to Diagnose and Stage Colorectal Cancer. Online: cancer.org, 2018