Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)
Men and women ages, 50 to 74 should be screened regularly for colon cancer. Colon cancer screening can find abnormal cells before they turn into cancer by finding and removing these cells early, it’s possible to stop cancer from developing. Screening is only recommended for people who are not experiencing symptoms.
There are two different tests available the fecal immunochemical test also known as FIT and colonoscopy. Talk to your medical provider about which test is right for you. Most Alaskans 50 or older are eligible for free annual screening using FIT. A FIT test that can detect hidden blood in the stool. FIT is simple and can be done in your home. You can pick up a test kit from Sunshine Community Health Center.
No special prep is necessary. You may eat as usual and take your medications. Just follow the simple instructions included in the kit.
With the tissue paper on the toilet to collect the stool sample, twist the cap open and collect the sample. You only need a tiny bit. Then put the stick back into the bottle and twist the cap shut. Flush and wash your hands and then put the bottle in the Ziploc bag and then drop your sample off at the Sunshine lab. Be sure to get it back to the lab within seven days or else your sample may no longer be valid.
Your results will be sent to you and your medical provider. An abnormal FIT result means that blood was found in the stool that you submitted. This does not mean that you have cancer. Blood can be present in the stool for many different reasons including hemorrhoids, ulcers, anal fissures or inflammation. More than ninety-six percent of people with an abnormal result do not have cancer. However, it is very important to attend follow-up appointments to find out why the test was abnormal.
If colon cancer is detected at its earliest stage, the chance of survival is more than ninety percent. To get a FIT order form, talk to your medical provider or ask a Sunshine Community Health Center representative. If you have any concerns or questions please contact us to schedule an appointment with a provider.
Stool Test FAQs
Q: Will I be touching my poop?
A: No. The FIT kit comes with a brush so you can get a sample without touching your stool. Always wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you finish.
Q: I can’t poop! What should I do?
A: Tell your doctor about your constipation during the testing period. He or she will be able to give you tips to “move things along.”
Q: What if I get grossed out?
A: Collecting a sample of your stool can be done quickly and cleanly. Should you have any concerns, please don’t be shy to talk about it with your health provider. Bear in mind that the benefits of this screening is worth a few minutes of discomfort.