An annual stool test could be as effective as a colonoscopy, according to a study


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By Linda Carroll

A new study suggests that for colon cancer screening, an annual stool test can be as effective as colonoscopy for people who do not have risk factors for the disease.

The researchers analyzed data from 31 studies including more than 120,000 medium-risk patients, who had undergone stool testing and colonoscopy. They determined that the fecal immunochemical test – or FIT – is sufficient to screen for colon cancer, according to the report published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

FIT is designed to detect hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells. People who test positive for FIT should have a colonoscopy to determine if they have cancer or precancerous lesions. But those who test negative must only continue to receive FIT every year to make sure they do not develop colon cancer.

"This non-invasive test for colon cancer screening is available for people at moderate risk," said lead author of the study, the gastroenterologist Dr. Thomas Imperiale, a researcher at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis. . "They should discuss with their suppliers the opportunity for them."

FIT is done at home by the patient and sent to a laboratory for evaluation.

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