Guiaiac fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
The guaiac fecal occult blood test can detect small amounts of blood in stool and is more specific to finding blood from further up the digestive tract, such as the stomach.
The FOBT can detect small amounts of blood in the stool, which can indicate cancerous growths.
The guaiac fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is used to find occult blood (or blood that can’t be seen with the naked eye) in stool.
The idea behind this test is that blood vessels at the surface of larger polyps or cancers are often fragile and easily damaged by passing stool. The damaged blood vessels usually release a small amount of blood into the stool, but only rarely is there enough bleeding to be visible in the stool. The FOBT is an easy way to determine whether there is blood in your stool, which could be the result of polyps or colorectal cancer.
The FOBT detects blood in the stool through a chemical reaction. However, it can’t tell if the blood is from the colon, rectum, or from other parts of the digestive tract, like the stomach. If this test is positive, a colonoscopy will be needed to find the reason for the presence of blood. Although cancers and polyps can cause blood in the stool, there are other causes too. Ulcers, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis (tiny pouches that form at weak spots in the colon wall) or inflammatory bowel disease (colitis) may also cause blood in your stool.
This screening test is done with a kit that you can use in the privacy of your own home. Another important part of this kit and test is that it requires you to check more than one stool sample. Also, unlike some other screening tests (including colonoscopy), this one must be repeated every year.
Some foods or drugs can affect the outcome of the FOBT, so your doctor may suggest that you avoid the following before this test:
Begin with all of your supplies ready and in one place. Supplies will include a test kit, test cards, either a brush or wooden applicator and a mailing envelope. The kit will give you detailed instructions on how to collect the stool.
For the FOBT, a positive test result indicates that abnormal bleeding is occurring somewhere in the digestive tract. This blood loss could be due to a number of things besides cancer, so if the test finds blood, a colonoscopy will be needed to look for the source.
Initiative aims to reduce stigma and educate about screening choices, as the Colorectal Cancer Alliance launches a health equity fund to decrease disparities.
On the horizon are blood tests that have shown the ability to detect a variety of cancers including colorectal and rare cancers. Though these tests are still in development and are not yet approved by the FDA, clinical trials have shown impressive results.
In February of 2022, John and Mary experienced the unimaginable. Their 36-year-old son, Jonathan, died of stage IV colon cancer. Though Jonathan had been dealing with ulcerative colitis from the time he was twelve, no one would have predicted this outcome twenty-four years later.