At-Home (Fecal Immunochemical Test) for Colorectal Cancer


The term colon cancer is sometimes used interchangeably with colorectal cancer because colon and rectal cancers share common features. The rectum and colon make up the large intestine. Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

Most colon cancers are caused by growths within the inner lining of the colon, called polyps. The chance of a polyp developing into cancer depends on factors, like the type of polyp (adenomatous polyps are considered precancerous) or if it has abnormal cells (called dysplasia).

Through routine screenings, most polyps can be found and removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests include visual tests (colonoscopy) and at-home stool tests (fecal immunochemical test).

Fecal immunochemical test

A fecal immunochemical test (FIT) can detect blood in the stool by measuring the presence of antibodies to the hemoglobin, a protein that is found in blood. FIT is considered to be better at detecting blood than FOBT fecal occult blood test . FIT is performed on a sample from one bowel movement and does not require any changes to diet before the test

At-home testing is a growing part of health care that, like telemedicine, has captured more and more interest during the COVID-19 pandemic. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) at-home tests now include a diverse range of test types providing customers and patients more options than ever before.


Benefits of At-Home Tests Include

  • Convenience: At-home tests allow you to get tested on your own schedule and without having to schedule an appointment, go to a medical office, or even leave the comfort of your home.
  • Expanded access to testing: The ability to order and take tests from home simplifies the testing process and makes many tests more available to the public.
  • Patient knowledge and empowerment: Patients are becoming more informed and active in their health care, and at-home testing can be a source of new information about their health and wellness.
  • Transparent cost: In most cases, at-home tests ordered online have a set price that is clearly displayed, and it is rare to encounter hidden fees.

Uses of At-Home Tests

At-home tests can have a variety of uses. The most common uses of at-home tests include:

  • Screening is looking for signs of a health problem before any symptoms have occurred. For example, at-home testing can look for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that may not cause symptoms, which can help avoid unknowingly spreading it to others.
  • Diagnosis is the identifying the cause of a health problem after symptoms have started. For example, at-home tests may detect infectious diseases like COVID-19. It is important to note, though, that only a doctor can formally diagnose a health condition, and they will need to conduct additional tests to confirm the results of at-home testing.
  • Monitoring is tracking how a person’s health changes over time or in response to treatment. At-home kits that allow people with diabetes to measure their blood sugar are an example of monitoring.
  • Disease risk assessment: In some situations, testing can reveal when a person has a higher risk of developing a disease. For instance, some genetic tests can look for DNA mutations that are associated with certain types of cancer, such as BRCA gene mutations and an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Wellness optimization: Some tests don’t look for a specific problem; instead, they are designed to help you understand one or more aspects of your physical, mental, or emotional wellness. These tests may measure hormones, nutrient levels, or other substances to offer more information about your body.