FIT for Early Colon Cancer Screening

FIT for Early Colon Cancer Screening

As we age, our health becomes our top priority, and visits to specialists and doctors become a part of the yearly routine. An important part of these visits is talking to doctors about regular screenings for ailments, conditions, or illnesses that are more common during and after middle-age. Specifically, screenings for cancer are crucial, as we all hope to avoid getting the Big C.

In the U.S., lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers are ranked at the top in number of cases diagnosed. Specifically, colorectal cancer (consists of both colon and rectal cancers combined) affects both men and women, most commonly those that are 50 to 75 years of age (Centers for Disease Control). This cancer forms from polyps that develop in the colon, or in the rectum. Risk factors vary, so it is important to you speak with your doctor about your concerns for potential risk.

There are several tests available for screening for colon cancer, the most common of which is a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy, and sigmoidoscopy, both constitute scanning the colon/rectum to find and remove polyps. This procedure is necessary, but can be very uncomfortable and requires being put under anesthesia. However, new tests have been developed to make it easier to check for colorectal polyps that can lead to cancer.

One such test is the FIT, or fecal immunochemical test. This test, done at home with a kit from a physician’s office, screens for blood in the stool which can be an early indicator of cancer. MedlinePlus has an excellent summary of how the test is performed at home after a regular bowel movement. The test kit is returned to your doctor’s office, which can then provide you with results during a follow-up visit. It is easy and pain-free. Speak to your doctor to make sure this is the right test for you. Early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment. So, if you are over 50 years old, get screened!

References:

MedlinePlus FIT

CDC Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests