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Easy, At Home Colon Cancer Test Proven To Save Lives
A test people can do at home is detecting colon cancer.
Sixty-seven year old Elsie Garcia spent years ignoring her doctor's advice to have a colonoscopy.
"I was afraid. I had heard several people tell me it was very uncomfortable," she said.
But she was willing to take a relatively simple at home test called the Fecal Immunochemical Test or FIT. Kaiser Permanente researchers reviewed previous studies and found the test detects about 80 percent of colon cancers.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and still, many people don’t get screened for it. But the FIT test can pick up most colorectal cancers.
Dr. Elizabeth Liles with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Heather Research says early colorectal cancers bleed. The test is meant to pick up on that bleeding. If it is positive, a colonoscopy is warranted.
"If you’re at higher risk of colon cancer because you have a family history, or you’ve had a polyp, then you should get screened earlier and your screening should involve a colonoscopy," says Joanne Schottinger with Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Hospital.
Garcia's FIT test came back positive. A colonoscopy confirmed she had cancer but surgeons were able to remove it.
When asked how the test changed her life, Garcia replied that she really felt it saved her life.
Garcia has been cancer free for six years. She hopes the ease and convenience of the FIT test will encourage more people to stop putting off screening.
About a third of Americans who should be getting screened for colon cancer go without it, according to the Center for Disease Control.