It’s easier than ever to get a colon cancer screening. You can even do it from your own home. You receive the test, collect the sample, and send in your results. You can benefit from this because the test is noninvasive and can be done in the comfort and privacy of your home. However, before you opt for this test, you should understand how to perform it properly and the limitations of it.
How to Perform an At-Home Colon Cancer Screening
You’ll receive a kit for your colon cancer evaluation with everything you need to complete the test. You’ll want to read the instructions carefully since each variety of the test is a bit different. Ask your doctor if you need to adjust your diet in any way prior to taking the test. In most cases, this isn’t necessary.
With one test, you’ll be asked to set up a bracket inside of your toilet. You then place a sample container into the bracket to collect the stool sample. Once you’re finished, you add a preservative that comes with the kit. Finally, you package the sample as directed and return it to the address provided.
Another test requires you to have a bowel movement and use a brush provided to collect a sample. You package the brush as indicated and send the sample in its designated bag to the requested address.
Test Uses One of Two Methods
A technician at a lab will perform the testing based on the type of test you had. With the fecal immunochemical test (FIT), for instance, the technician uses an antibody that reacts with any blood in the stool. Small amounts of blood could indicate you have polyps or another issue in the colon.
The test may also be a fecal occult blood test (FOBT), which involves a technician using a chemical known as guaiac that’ll react with any blood in the stool.
You can also take an at-home stool DNA test. With this test, a technician looks for abnormal parts of DNA from polyp or cancer cells in the stool.
Accuracy of At-Home Colon Cancer Screenings
At-home colon cancer screenings aren’t always accurate. The lab can miss polyps and some cancers, which can result in a false negative. On the other hand, a person can also test positive, even though a person is cancer-free. Overall, however, at-home tests are recommended for the majority of patients – especially those with a low risk of colon cancer.
Who Benefits from These Tests
The people who benefit most from at-home colon screenings are those who have a low risk of colon cancer, are younger than 60, or find it daunting to get a colonoscopy. At-home screenings can highlight colon cancer in a lot of patients, making it an effective tool for testing.
What Happens with Abnormal Results
If you get abnormal results of your stool sample, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer. Therefore, your doctor will want to further assess you by recommending a colonoscopy.
This is a screening that allows a physician to look inside your colon in real-time for any polyps. If your doctor finds polyps, they are removed during the colonoscopy and analyzed further in a lab.
What Makes Our Westlake and Brooklyn, OH Gastroenterology Practitioners Different
The experts at NorthShore Gastroenterology & Endoscopy have a wealth of experience treating gastroenterological issues. We routinely provide colon cancer screenings, so patients can stay ahead of the dangerous disease. Although we provide the same types of at-home colon cancer screenings as other clinics, our experienced team is what makes us the preferred choice among patients.
Book an appointment with NorthShore Gastroenterology & Endoscopy, serving Westlake, Brooklyn, and the nearby areas, to discuss what type of colon cancer screening is right for you. You may either call us at (440) 808-1212 or use our appointment request form.