There are several ways to screen for colorectal cancer, including home stool testing. The fecal occult blood test and FIT check the stool for microscopic traces of blood. Another method tests for DNA traces of large polyps or tumors.
The screening stool test is a noninvasive test to detect polyps and early-stage cancers in the colon. It is also known as the DNA stool test, CologuardTM, and Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). After the patient’s stool is mailed to the lab, the stool is analyzed for genetic mutations in the DNA that signal the existence of polyps and cancers. Although not as common as a colonoscopy, the screening stool test is a noninvasive alternative that doesn’t require bowel cleansing, sedation, or a trip to the clinic.
In addition to detecting colon cancer, the applications of the test include detecting malignancies through the digestive tract, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, bile ducts, and small bowel.
If a test is positive, the patient will need a colonoscopy for further investigation.