It takes only minutes to do afecal immunochemical test(FIT), and it could save yourlife.
Regular testing can helpfind abnormalities that couldlead to colorectal cancer,the fourth most commonlydiagnosed cancer in Alberta.
If these abnormalities arecaught early, 90 per centof cases can be treatedsuccessfully.
The FIT is recommendedfor people 50 to 74 yearsold with no symptoms ofcolorectal cancer and nopersonal or family history ofthe disease.
“The point of the testis that if you’re well, wewant to keep you well,”says Dr. Clarence Wong, agastroenterologist and theprovincial medical lead of theAlberta Colorectal CancerScreening Program withAlberta Health Services.
“A FIT can help findpolyps—small, mushroomlike growths—that can beremoved before they becomecancerous and early-stagecancer,” says Wong.
Your primary care provider
can arrange for you to pick
up the test kit at the lab. And
you don’t need to give up
the foods you enjoy before
you do the test in the comfort
of your own home. The kit
comes with instructions for
how to take a sample of your
stool. Once you’ve collected
a sample, return it to the lab
along with your requisition
form within seven days.
The lab will test your stool
for unseen blood, and the
results will be sent to your
healthcare provider. If the
results are normal—and there
have been no changes to your
family’s history with colorectal
cancer or polyps—you can
continue to take the FIT every
year as part of your health
routine. “Only 10 per cent of
those who get tested have
abnormal results—and most
(of them), don’t have cancer,”
Your healthcare providerand the Alberta ColorectalCancer Screening Programwill contact you about yourresults. If the results areabnormal, you will have acolonoscopy to find thesource of the blood.
“Getting screened forcancer regularly is one wayto greatly reduce your risk ofcancer. The FIT can detectcancer early, but it can alsoprevent it,” Wong says. |a
To learn more about cancer and its preventable risks,
The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is the first step in screening
for colorectal cancer—the fourth most diagnosed cancer in Alberta
WRITTEN BY JANINE POERSCHILLUSTRATED BY ERIC CHOWRegular, annual testing can help find abnormalities that could lead to colorectal cancer.