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Colon cancer screening can be so easy
An American research team advises on a new method for the early detection of colon cancer. The test can be done easily at home and does not require a medical exam or colonoscopy, which many people like to avoid. Based on a simple stool sample, the test can be used to identify colorectal cancer with an 80 percent probability, a recent study shows.
Indiana University School of Medicine researchers developed a new test for early detection of colorectal cancer. Instead of an unpleasant colonoscopy, an analysis of the stool sample should be carried out, which everyone can take at home. The new colon cancer screening test has already been tested on over 120,000 participants. The results were recently presented in the specialist journal "Annals of Internal Medicine".
Four out of five intestinal tumors are recognized
In the so-called FIT test, those affected take a sample of their stool at home and send it to a laboratory. There, the feces are examined for hidden blood - an indication of colon cancer. The test results have already been checked on over 120,000 participants. In four out of five cases, the self-test successfully detects colorectal cancer. It almost reaches the detection rate of a colonoscopy, which is around 95 percent.
New test saves money, time and nerves
"Our analysis shows that FIT is a good method for the early detection of colorectal cancer with an average risk," reports gastroenterologist Dr. Thomas Imperiale, the lead author of the study, in a press release on the study results. The test is very well suited to be used as part of an adult screening program that does not show any noticeable symptoms such as blood in the stool. The test can be carried out once a year and replaces colon cancer screening. This also saves money for the health system and time and nerves for the patients.
Who should pay more attention to colorectal cancer?
According to the researchers, the risk of colon cancer increases to an average level from the age of 50. So far, colonoscopy has been the standard for colon cancer screening. With the new test, anyone over the age of 50 could submit a sample annually and would only have to undergo a colonoscopy if the test is positive.
Health insured persons over 50 are entitled to the test annually
According to the cancer screening guidelines, health insured persons in Germany aged 50 and over are entitled to have such a stool test carried out once a year. The FIT test (also iFOB test) can be requested from the doctor and carried out at home. The health insurance covers the costs. The insured will then receive a small tube. The removal stick inside is dipped several times in the chair. The tube is then closed again and returned to the doctor within a day.
Numerous long-term clinical studies have shown that mortality from colorectal cancer can be reduced by 13 to 33 percent through repeated tests every two years. However, if blood is found in the stool, it does not inevitably mean that cancer is actually present. Some other reasons can be the cause. But further examinations such as a colonoscopy can give certainty. (vb)