At home colon cancer tests are a type of screening test that can help detect abnormalities in stool samples that may indicate precancerous or cancerous conditions in the colon. The American Cancer Society has stated that recently the rates of colorectal cancer in adults has increased steadily in the past 15 years. This rise in colon cancer rates has prompted both the American Cancer Society and United States Preventive Task Force to lower the recommended age for screening to 45 years of age in their screening guidelines. For those patients at an average risk for colorectal cancer, at home screening tests are a preferred option over the more invasive colonoscopy that requires an intense bowel preparation.
These at home colon cancer tests are typically available by prescription only. However, there are tests that are available for you to purchase over the counter that test for colon cancer. These tests are inexpensive and typically give you a result immediately (like a pregnancy test).
These at home colon cancer tests are typically available by prescription only. However, there are tests that are available for you to purchase over the counter that test for colon cancer. These tests are inexpensive and typically give you a result immediately (like a pregnancy test). Keep in mind that these tests are not approved by the FDA as an official screening test and your doctor will probably recommend that you take an approved at home screening test. People who are interested in getting an at home colon cancer test can talk to their primary care providers to discuss if the test is appropriate for them and which one to choose.
All three at home colon cancer tests will typically require you to get a prescription. There are three screening tests that are typically prescribed to patients eligible for at home screening. These include:
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT). This test uses antibodies that specifically react with a blood protein in the stool. Physicians typically order the test to be repeated annually.
Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT). Conducted yearly, the gFOBT uses a chemical (guaiac) to detect microscopic amounts of blood in the stool.
Stool DNA test (also known as FIT-DNA test). The most current stool test combines the FIT test with a test that can detect abnormally mutated DNA in the stool. Unlike the FIT and gFOBT, a stool DNA test can be repeated every three years if no abnormalities are found.
The federally-approved (FDA) types of at home screening tests for colon cancer are the FIT, FOBT, and the FIT-DNA or Cologuard. All three screening tests typically are prescribed by a primary healthcare provider or physician to their patients when they reach the screening age of at least 45 years of age.
The federally-approved (FDA) types of at home screening tests for colon cancer are the FIT, FOBT, and the FIT-DNA or Cologuard. All three screening tests typically are prescribed by a primary healthcare provider or physician to their patients when they reach the screening age of at least 45 years of age. If you are interested in taking one of the three tests approved by the FDA you can ask your physician to help you decide which one is the best fit for you. Once you receive the prescription, you can order the kit or one will be provided by the prescribing physician.
There are virtual options for you to make an appointment with a physician in order to get a prescription for these colon cancer screening tests. This means that you can contact a physician by telephone or virtually (via a computer or mobile device). These services are run by physicians who want to reach patients in rural communities and those that are home-bound. Generally, you will receive a prescription after a virtual or telephone appointed with a licensed physician.
The Second Generation™ FIT is one test that you can purchase online through Pinnacle Labs without a prescription. You are able to take this test without a prescription and interpret the results for yourself in the comfort of your own home. If you receive a positive result, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to rule out the cause of the positive result.
Typically, the physician who prescribed the test will receive and then communicate with you directly to discuss the results. In these cases, the lab will send the results of your test directly to your physician who will contact you to explain what they mean. This discussion usually occurs during a follow-up appointment. If your doctor suspects that you may have received a false positive or false negative test you will probably be asked to repeat the test.
Each test is unique but each share in common that if you receive a positive result, your physician will most likely ask you to schedule a colonoscopy as follows:
Cancer Care Ontario Writing Staff. (2021). Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) Instructions. Retrieved from Cancer Care Ontario: https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/types-of-cancer/colorectal/screening/fit-instructions
Cancer Care Ontario Writing Staff. (2021). FIT Instructions Pamphlet. Retrieved from Cancer Care Ontario: https://www.cancercareontario.ca/sites/ccocancercare/files/assets/FITKitInstructions.pdf
Exact Sciences Writing Staff. (2020, July 07). Cologuard™ patient guide. Retrieved from Cologuard: https://www.cologuard.com/colon-cancer-screening-support-resources
Kaur, K., & Adamski, J. J. (2020, August 16). Fecal Occult Blood Test. Retrieved from StatPearls: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537138/
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. (2020, August 04). How to do a fecal occult blood test (FOBT). Retrieved from MSKCC: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/fecal-occult-blood-test
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2020, July 31). Fecal occult blood test (FOBT). Retrieved from MedlinePlus: https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/fecal-occult-blood-test-fobt/