People are advised to have periodic colonoscopies to detect colorectal cancer early. This is the second leading cause of cancer death but it can be treated successfully if caught early enough. The problem is that many people either cannot afford a colonoscopy or feel squeamish about undergoing this procedure.
A new study shows that an inexpensive, simple test that can be conducted in the privacy of person’s own bathroom can detect 79% of colorectal cancers. The research was a meta-analysis of 19 studies of the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) stool test. There were twelve different brands of the immunochemical stool test covered by the studies, and all performed well. (Current occult blood stool tests are not nearly as accurate.)
Future studies will need to make a direct comparison between colonoscopy and FIT to see if the FIT is accurate enough to rely on for routine at home testing. It could be a good screening tool for people to use between colonoscopies.