Fecal Immunochemical Test
What is Fecal Immunochemical Testing? (FIT)
University Hospitals Digestive Health Institute offers a new type of colon cancer screening called fecal immunochemical test (FIT). This screening, which doctors recommend conducting once a year, is usually covered by insurance, and involves no preparation ahead of time by the patient.
FIT is a stool test that can detect hidden blood in the stool, a sign of precancerous polyps or colon cancer.
With a FIT screening, there are no drug or dietary restrictions for the patient, and it may require as few as one stool sample to complete. The test is also less likely to react to bleeding from parts of the upper digestive tract, which can increase accuracy.
In order to conduct a FIT screening, patients simply need to obtain a kit from their physician and follow the detailed instructions included with the kit. The sample can be collected in the privacy of the patient’s own home, and then returned to the lab for analysis.
Advantages of the FIT screening include:
- Easy to conduct
- No preparation
- Inexpensive and covered by most insurance
- Done in the privacy of the patient’s home
Some disadvantages of the FIT screening include:
- Patients may find test unpleasant
- May miss tumors that bleed in small amount or not at all
- These tests may perform poorly without refrigeration in warm climates or if there are postal delays
- Must be repeated every year
Order a Testing Kit
Patients who would like to obtain a FIT kit should contact their primary care physician or a gastroenterologist.