Stool Test for Colorectal Cancer | FIT

Your MaineHealth provider may order a stool test to look for signs of colorectal cancer and other conditions that cause blood in the stool.

What is a stool test for colorectal cancer?

A stool test is just one of many tests used to look for signs of colorectal cancer and other conditions that may cause blood in the stool. Although blood in the stool can be a sign of cancer, other conditions cause the problem. Those conditions include:

  • Anal fissure

  • Colon polyps

  • Crohn’s disease

  • GERD

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Peptic ulcers

  • Ulcerative colitis

In addition, taking aspirin and other non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs can cause blood in the stool.

What is the FIT test?

FIT test is also known as the fecal immunochemical test. The main use of the FIT test is to screen for early colon cancer.  FIT test detects blood in the stool even when it is not visible. Blood in the stool can be an early sign of cancer. Invisible blood in the stool also is called occult blood.

If the test is positive, your provider may order additional tests, such as a colonoscopy, which finds ulcers, polyps and tumors.

Preparing for the FIT Test

How the Test is Performed

You will be given the test to use at home. Be sure to follow the instructions provided. Most tests have the following steps:

  • Flush the toilet before having a bowel movement.
  • Put the used toilet paper in the waste bag provided. DO NOT put it into the toilet bowl.
  • Use the brush from the kit to brush the surface of the stool and then dip the brush into the toilet water.
  • Touch the brush on the space indicated on the test card.
  • Add the brush to the waste bag and throw it away.
  • Send the sample to the lab for testing.
  • Your doctor may ask you to test more than one stool sample before sending it in.

What to Expect From the FIT Test

How the Test Will Feel

Some people may be squeamish about collecting the sample. But you will not feel anything during the test. The test is safe.