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Bowel Cancer Screening Test

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Bowel cancer is highly treatable when caught in early stages. However, symptoms may not be noticeable until the cancer has progressed. This is why screening is an important tool for finding bowel cancer early. This home bowel cancer test checks for blood in the stool that is not visible to the human eye. The results of this test can indicate whether further testing or investigation is needed.

Test mode: Stool sample

What do we test for?

Fecal Occult Blood
Instructional video
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Bowel Cancer Screening Test Image

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About the Test
Summary of Biomarkers
Symptoms
FAQ

About the Test

Test result mockup

Why do a FIT/iFOBT test?

According to the Dutch Public Health Service (RIVM), 14,000 people get bowel cancer and 5,000 people die from bowel cancer in the Netherlands each year. Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in the Netherlands. 9 out of 10 people who get bowel cancer are 55 years or older. Bowel cancer can be highly treatable and curable if it is detected early. With early detection, highly invasive treatment can be avoided and remission is more likely.

How do I do this test from home?

Your Homed-IQ Bowel Cancer Test is an iFOBT test that comes with everything you need to prepare a stool sample. To perform this test, you must collect the stool sample and mail it back to our lab in a prepaid return-envelope. The lab will share your results with you within a few working days.

Summary of Biomarkers

Fecal Occult Blood

This test checks for the presence of occult blood in the stool, meaning it is invisible to the human eye. This is called a Fecal Immunochemical Test, FIT, or iFOBT. Occult blood in the stool can indicate colon polyps or cancer, and will require additional testing to verify the cause. Through this simple test, it can be determined whether trace amounts of blood are present in your stool, which could indicate conditions such as bowel cancer. This is a stool sample test that you can easily take from home. Your sample will then be examined by a certified laboratory and you will receive the results within a matter of days. It couldn’t be easier!

Symptoms

What are the most common symptoms of bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer usually develops slowly over a period of many years. It often begins as a non-cancerous—but abnormal—mass of tissue (called a “polyp”) that grows along the inner lining of the bowel or rectum. Polyps can eventually become cancerous.

In general, colorectal polyps will not cause symptoms. This is why routine screening is so important—so you can catch bowel cancer early and treat it accordingly.

We recommend speaking with your healthcare provider right away if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Alternating or chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Very thin stools
  • Persistent urge to have a bowel movement
  • Severe pain in the abdomen
  • Blood in your stool or in the toilet

What do the results of this test mean?

The results of your test will either be negative or positive. A negative test result means that no blood was detected in your stool sample. An abnormal or positive FIT result means that there was blood found in your stool at the time of the test. A bowel polyp, precancerous polyp, or cancer can cause a positive FIT stool test. Additional testing may be necessary to identify the source of the bleeding. This does not mean that you have bowel cancer- simply that more investigation is needed.

Is this test a replacement for bowel cancer screening in the hospital?

While stool tests are less sensitive than colonoscopies at detecting abnormal growths in the bowel, they are less invasive and therefore may be more readily used by the general public. Therefore it has been suggested that stool testing may be more effective and less costly than other bowel cancer screening strategies (Quintero et al., 2012). However, FIT tests should be repeated annually, whereas colonoscopies are only needed once every ten years. Additionally, a positive FIT test means that additional screening is needed, such as a colonoscopy at the hospital.

Frequently asked questions

Does bowel cancer show up on blood tests?

There is currently no blood test that can tell you if you have bowel cancer. However, your doctor may test your blood for indicators about your overall health, such as kidney and liver function tests. Your doctor may also test your blood for a chemical sometimes produced by colon cancers called carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA).

How accurate is a stool test for bowel cancer?

No test is 100% accurate. There is a chance that a precancerous polyp or cancer can be missed if it wasn’t bleeding when the test was done. Regular screening gives you the best chance of early detection of colorectal cancer, where treatment may be more successful. The fecal immunochemical test, or FIT, uses antibodies to detect blood in the stool and is about 79% accurate at detecting bowel cancer.

Is a fecal occult blood test better than a colonoscopy?

A FIT stool test is less invasive than a colonoscopy but should be repeated more often to screen for potential cancer. FIT tests are also not able to identify the source of fecal occult blood, meaning additional tests may be needed if abnormalities are found. Additionally, false positives are possible with any test, meaning the result may indicate the presence of blood when none exists.

What should I do when my fecal occult blood test is positive?

It is necessary to investigate the source of fecal occult blood with additional testing. All Homed-IQ test results include a complete laboratory report. If your test result is positive, please take your test result to your healthcare provider for follow-up care.

Is this bowel cancer test the same as a fecal occult blood test?

There are several different types of tests to screen for colon cancer, including structural examinations of the colon (such as a colonoscopy) and stool examinations for occult (hidden) blood. Homed-IQ’s Bowel Cancer test is a fecal occult blood test that checks for abnormal bleeding in the stool. The stool sample for this test is collected at home and then sent to our certified laboratory. This is the same FIT that you would receive at a doctor’s office.

Does my health insurance cover the costs of a Homed-IQ test?

We currently do not have any agreements with health insurers. We recommend you to check directly with your insurer whether at-home celiac tests are covered. Certain insurance companies do cover certain at-home laboratory tests. Homed-IQ can provide itemized receipts for tests you order – which you can then submit to your insurance for reimbursement. Our receipts include:
  • Purchaser’s name, email, and address
  • Date of purchase (as opposed to date of service)
  • Amount paid (after any discounts or promotions)

When should I check for bowel cancer?

The CDC recommends that adults between the ages of 45 and 75 are regularly screened for bowel cancer. In the Netherlands, this age group is 55 to 75. You may need to get screened earlier, or more often if:
  • You have a family history of colorectal polyps or colon cancer
  • You have an inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • You have a genetic syndrome that predisposes you to colon cancer, such as Lynch syndrome
  • You are experiencing gastrointestinal complaints
Stool tests such as the one offered by Homed-IQ should be repeated one a year.

Where can I find more information on colon cancer and screening?

Can I do this bowel cancer test while I am menstruating?

This test checks for the presence of blood in a stool sample, indicating potential bleeding in the bowels. Blood from other areas, such as menstruation or haemorrhoids, can cause the test to be positive even if no bleeding in the bowels is present. You should not perform this test while menstruating or if you have bleeding haemorrhoids.

How does it work?

Order your test
After you have placed the order, your test kit will be delivered within a few days in discreet packaging.
Activate and take your sample

After creating an account and activating your test online, collect the test sample and return it to the lab using the prepaid shipping label. Homed-IQ tests can be placed in a regular mailbox.

Receive your test result

A certified laboratory will analyze your test. When ready, your results will be published to your account, including a PDF laboratory report that can be brought to your GP for follow-up care.

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