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Human Nutrition, Diet and Health > HNDH Blog > Posts > Screening for colon cancer - Colonoscopy or FIT?

Colon cancer is one of the top three cancer killers in the United States. Knowing the risk factors and getting screened are the first steps in not becoming a cancer statistic.

Risk factors include:

-Age (50 and above)

-Personal history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer

-Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease

-Family history of colorectal cancer

-Inherited syndromes

-Racial and ethnic background (African-American & Jews of Eastern European descent)

-Type 2 diabetes

-Lifestyle related factors (diet, inactivity, obesity, smoker, heavy drinker)

Colon cancer symptoms include any one of the following - a change in your bowel habits, rectal bleeding, persistent cramps, gas or pain, weakness, unexplained weight loss, or a feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) lists six screening tests for the early detection of cancer for people at risk (see above), but are not showing symptoms. At age 50 a person's assumption is that the colonoscopy is the only colorectal screening procedure available. The screening test called the FIT test - or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is one of the other ACES recommended screening procedures. The non-invasive test detects hidden blood only in the lower bowel.This accurate test has very few false positives.

FIT is an easy way to be tested for colorectal cancer because it is done privately at home with no need to change eating habits; no need to change medications; no liquids to drink; no need to take time off from work, plus the results are mailed back to the doctor in a few days.

Therefore, if time, transportation, or lack of health insurance are factors in your choosing to be screened for colon cancer, the FIT or iFOBT, is a screening procedure that may be right for you.
 
Discuss your screening options with your health care professional and get screened for colon cancer.

 

Visit cancer.org for more information or the Alabama Department of Public Health's web site at http://adph.org/colon for more information.

Kaiser Permenente has a video you may want to view.

Fit Way Video


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