Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)

The fecal immunochemical test, aka FIT test, detects human hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, in the stool. This can be an early sign of colorectal cancer.

This annual home-based test replaces the traditional guaiac fecal occult blood test, which detected hidden blood in the stool.

What is the positive side of FIT?

  • Is performed once a year at home.
  • Is 79 percent sensitive for detection of colorectal cancer.
  • Is 20 to 50 percent sensitive for detection for adenomas (polyps) 10 millimeters or larger.
  • Needs only one stool sample.
  • Requires no special diet or colon prep.

What is the negative side of FIT?

  • Can fail to detect some polyps and cancers.
  • May require more tests to determine the source if blood is detected.
  • Can return false-positive results.
  • Must be performed every year.

How do you use the test?

Your HonorHealth primary care provider or gastroenterologist will give you a FIT kit that contains a test card, a stool sample collecting device and a mailing envelope. Follow the instructions carefully to collect and smear a small stool sample on your test card.

Once you have collected your sample, mail your test card to the laboratory specified by your physician for analysis. The sample should not be kept at more than 95 degrees for longer than eight days, so during the summer months, you’ll need to deliver the FIT test kit to the lab.

When you do get FIT results?

Within a few days, the lab will send the test results to your doctor, who will tell you whether a follow-up colonoscopy is needed. If the test is positive, the next step typically would be a colonoscopy.

If the test is negative, your doctor may recommend that you get rescreened every year.

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