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There are many tests that one may have to take due to age or risks factors for some diseases. The faecal occult blood test is one of these tests. Also known as the FOBT, this is a test done in a lab to determine the presence or lack of any occult or hidden blood in the stool. The test is done to check if one has colon cancer or whether they have polyps in the rectum or the colon.
In a typical situation, occult blood would be passed into the stool in very small quantities that it may be detected only by the chemicals that are used in the test. In the event that blood is detected through the test, then more tests have to be done to determine where the blood is coming from. This will be done through other kinds of tests other than the FOBT.
To have this test done, one will have to consult a gastrointestinal specialist so that they can assess them and recommend the test. This test cannot detect where the blood is coming from. It only indicates the presence or the lack of blood in the faecal. In this article, we shall examine the reasons why this test is done and when it is done.
Reasons For Why the FOBT Test Has To Be Done
To Screen For Colon Cancer
This test can be done every year for people aged 50 years and above. Your doctor may ask you to take this test every year so that you will not be caught unawares. Remember that early detection of colon cancer will help in the successful treatment. Your doctor may also recommend other tests that can allow him to examine the colon directly.
When One Has Unexplained Anemia
There are times when people have anemia that cannot be explained. As such, the doctor may want to know what is causing the loss of blood in the body so that it results in anemia. For the doctor to determine if there is bleeding in your digestive tract, then a faecal occult blood test would be appropriate. There could be a bleeding ulcer in the digestive system that could be the cause of the unexplained anemia. The FOBT would help determine this.
FOBT Test Results
When one takes the FOBT, they are either going to get a negative or a positive result.
- A negative result means no blood is found in the stool. This does not mean that one does not have bowel cancer or they cannot develop it. If one does get a negative result, it is recommended that they should have the test done every two years.
- If the test is positive and blood is confirmed in the stool, this does not necessarily mean that one has colon cancer. More tests have to be done to determine the cause of the blood in the stool. One should consult their doctor to have other tests such as colonoscopies done to check if there is bowel cancer present. The test could also check the presence of polyps or other causes of the positive test result.