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Today, we delve into an important, yet frequently overlooked aspect of preventive health care: the Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) for bowel cancer screening.  The FIT is a simple, non-invasive method that plays a crucial role in the early detection of colorectal cancer, significantly improving prognosis and survival rates.

What is the FIT?

The Fecal Immunochemical Test is a screening tool to detect hidden blood in the stool, which may be an early sign of bowel cancer.  Unlike the traditional guaiac faecal occult blood test (gFOBT), FIT only tests for human haemoglobin protein and is not affected by dietary habits, making it more specific and reliable.

Why FIT Matters?

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the third most common type of cancer worldwide.  Treatment is highly effective when detected early, but in the absence of noticeable symptoms during early stages, many cases go unnoticed until it’s too late.  The FIT provides a simple and accessible way to identify potential issues early, enabling prompt treatment and better patient outcomes.

How Does the FIT Work?

The test kit, which can be done at home, involves taking small samples from your bowel motions using a special stick or brush.  This is then sealed in a sterile container and sent to a laboratory where it is tested for traces of blood.

A positive FIT result doesn’t necessarily mean you have bowel cancer, but it does suggest further investigation is required, often through procedures like a colonoscopy.  It’s also worth noting that a negative result does not rule out cancer completely; the test should be repeated annually or biannually as recommended by healthcare professionals.

Who Should Get Tested?

Bowel cancer screening using FIT is generally recommended for men and women over the age of 50, as the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age.  However, those with a family history or other risk factors for bowel cancer may be advised to start screening earlier.  Always consult your healthcare provider to determine the proper screening schedule.

Conclusion

Bowel cancer, if caught early, is one of the most treatable forms of cancer.  A simple, non-invasive test such as the FIT is pivotal in detecting this disease at its earliest, most treatable stages.  Remember, proactive screening can save lives.  Let’s spread the word and encourage our loved ones to get tested!

This blog post serves as a stepping stone to start the conversation about bowel cancer and the importance of early detection.  For more health-related information, stay tuned to YouOptimised.

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London Osteoporosis Clinic,
HCA the Shard,
32 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9BS
T: 020 7193 7867
E: elizabeth@youoptimised.com