Research has shown that Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood Testing (iFBOT), more commonly known as stool testing, is an inexpensive and non-invasive tool that can be used to effectively screen for colon cancer. A stool test is one where fecal matter (aka POOP) is collected and analyzed.
Here’s the dealio (as my daughter always says)….
Experts generally recommend that most people begin screening for colorectal cancer at age 50, and then continue getting screened at regular intervals. Typical screening tests include having a colonoscopy done every 10 years and a flexible sigmoidoscopy done every 5 years.
Now research has shown the benefits of adding in annual stool testing to a proactive screening regimen. Sample stool can be collected in the privacy of your own home and then sent to a lab where it is analyzed for hidden blood- a potential sign of colon cancer or pre-cancerous growths called polyps. Positive results from the stool test should prompt a follow up colonoscopy to find the source of the blood.
The downside… like all screening tests, stool testing will yield some false positives. (In one study, 10% of participants reported a false positive.) And unlike colonoscopies, stool tests can not yield any information on stomach or gastric cancer. But as long as this test is not replacing the colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy screenings, it shouldn’t matter.
3 major benefits…. it’s non-invasive; effective; and costs approximately $30 a pop (or as my friend Tasha says “$30 a poop”)- not $3,000 which is the average cost of a screening colonoscopy. Again, this testing should not replace of colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies, but rather used as an additional measure for colon cancer prevention and early detection. Do it once a year… talk to your doctor!