Early detection is essential for treating life-threatening diseases such as cancer, but going to the doctor for screening can be time consuming and, for some, a little scary. Home cancer screening tests are not quite common, but a new study suggests that new home screening may be appropriate for certain types of cancers, especially the colon.
As LiveScience reports, it was a meta-analysis of dozens of research efforts focused on the effectiveness of what's called a fecal immunochemical test. The test is designed to detect tiny traces of blood that can be a warning sign for colorectal cancers.
The big study, which was published in Annals of Internal Medicine, reviewed data from 31 separate studies to determine if the home test was as effective as a traditional colonoscopy. The researchers found that the test was 80% effective and detected cancer in four out of five people who had it.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States, but less than two-thirds of people at risk are screened. This could be largely due to the invasive and uncomfortable nature of a colonoscopy, but a home test that detects up to 80% of its effectiveness would be a huge gain for the medical community.
The researchers believe that the test would be an effective measure to detect cancer if it was performed once a year by a person over 50 years of age at risk. Traditional colonoscopic cancer screening is often performed only every ten years or so, depending on the individual.
It is worth noting that a positive FIT test result would in any case require a person to undergo a colonoscopy anyway, but it would seem far more likely that a person would be willing to make that appointment after the test. at home suggested that she was probably suffering from cancer. .