When colon cancer is found and removed before spreading, the chance of long-term remission is fantastic—around 90% of patients survive beyond 5 years! But if the cancer has spread outside the colon, the chance of living beyond 5 years drops to only about 15%.
What can you do to prevent colon cancer? Colon cancer can take as long as 10 to 15 years to develop, which gives you lots of time to do something about it. It’s important that you talk to your doctor and develop a colon cancer screening plan that is right for you. It could save your life.
Did you know …
You have probably heard about colonoscopy and what it entails, but did you know there is a trusted home screening option for people of average risk? A fecal immunochemical test, or FIT, is a noninvasive test you can complete in the comfort of your own home.
Understand your risk factors and talk with your doctor to see if a Labcorp OnDemand Colon Cancer FIT Kit is right for you.
Read this blog to learn about colon cancer screening - who should be screened, when to get screening, and if it's right for you.
The most important thing to understand is, colon cancer can be prevented or caught early and treated. Knowing your personal risk factors allows you and your doctor to make smart choices about what screening methods to use and how frequently to use them.
There are risks for colon cancer that you cannot change. It is important to be aware of these risks and communicate them to your doctor
Age is one of the most important risk factors for colon cancer that you cannot change. The risk for colon cancer increases as you get older. The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone, beginning at the age of 45 years, get screened for colon cancer.
If someone in your family was diagnosed with colon cancer at any stage, it is important information to share with your doctor. Try to remember the health information you know about your relatives —especially immediate family members like your parents and siblings—and share it with your doctor when you discuss recommendations for your health screenings.
Having certain health conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or type 2 diabetes can increase your risk for developing colon cancer. Also, certain genetic mutations and inherited conditions (ie, Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis) can increase your risk.
The risk for colon cancer is not equally distributed across races and ethnicities. Colon cancer is more commonly seen in black individuals than in people of other races. People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent also appear to be at higher risk for colon cancer than people of other ethnicities.
There are risks for colon cancer that you cannot change. It is important to be aware of these risks and communicate them to your doctor These risk factors are aspects of your lifestyle that you can change
Eating a diet rich in red and processed meats has been strongly linked to colon cancer. Furthermore, eating a fiber-rich diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been shown to reduce colon cancer risk.
Your days in P.E. class may be far behind you, but finding ways to stay physically active and maintaining a weight that is healthy for you are things you can work on throughout your life to reduce your colon cancer risk.
If you drink, drink less. If you smoke, make every effort to quit. Alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking have some of the strongest links to colon cancer.
People are accomplishing more than ever before from the comfort of their own homes. You can work from home, shop from home, order groceries from home— why not screen for colon cancer at home, too? The Labcorp OnDemand Colon Cancer FIT Kit makes annual colon cancer screening a seamless and private process. Learn more about how Labcorp helps people at average risk for colon cancer take control of their colon health—from home!
Your FIT Kit comes with everything you need to collect and mail your sample to Labcorp
Only a 0.01-gram stool specimen is required to perform the FIT test—less than other at-home screening methods
With a negative result, you can be 99.8% certain that no precancerous or cancerous changes are taking place in the colon
The Labcorp OnDemand FIT test uses a self-collected stool sample to look for abnormalities that might mean precancerous or cancerous changes are happening in your colon. The test is designed to detect traces of hidden (“occult”) blood in your stool. This is blood that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Blood in the stool can have multiple possible causes, but sometimes it’s the first and only sign of precancerous conditions or early-stage cancers in the colon.
If the test detects an abnormality in your stool, it is not a colon cancer diagnosis.
Getting a positive FIT test result means you’ll need to get follow-up testing to determine the source of blood in your stool. The follow-up tests (such as colonoscopy) will be used to identify the source of blood, make a diagnosis, and guide the approach to treatment. A negative FIT test result means that no blood was detected in the stool at the time of testing.
A negative result is a reliable indicator that no cancerous or precancerous changes are taking place in the colon. People with a negative FIT test result should repeat the test in 1 year in consultation with their doctor.
You can order the same Colon Cancer FIT Kit used by doctors on your own through Labcorp OnDemand.
Have questions? Concerns? That’s okay. It’s not always possible to make time for all your questions during a doctor’s visit, so we’re here as a resource to answer questions you may have about colon cancer and screening for colon cancer with the Labcorp FIT Kit.
American Cancer Society Guidelines recommend that people at average risk for colon cancer should begin screening at age 45.
Screening earlier than age 45 may be recommended for those at increased risk for colon cancer. Factors that put someone at increased risk include:
• A strong family history or personal history of colon cancer or certain polyps
• A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease) • A personal or family history of an inherited genetic disorder or mutation such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome
• A history of cancer that was treated with radiation to the pelvic area or abdomen (belly)
People with early colon cancer may not have any symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms of colon cancer may be misidentified as hemorrhoids, infection, or irritable bowel syndrome.
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the US. An estimated 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will develop colon cancer in their lifetime.
Colon cancer begins as abnormal growths, called polyps, in the inner wall of the large intestine or rectum. These polyps can slowly change into cancer, taking as long as 10 to 15 years to become cancerous and spread to other parts of the body.
Screening for colon cancer is important because people with early colon cancer may not have any symptoms, or they may mistake symptoms for something else. Early detection increases survival and prevention. Screening makes it possible to catch early cancerous or precancerous changes in the colon while they are treatable.
Almost all colon cancer starts as polyps, which can be removed before they ever become cancerous. If found early enough, colon cancer can be removed before it can spread to other parts of the body.
You are considered to be at increased or high risk for colon cancer if:
If you are at increased or high risk for colon cancer, your doctor may want you to start screening earlier than age 45 and/or at more frequent intervals, and to use highly sensitive screening tests like colonoscopy.
Labcorp’s Colorectal Cancer At-Home Test is a fecal immunochemical test (FIT). The FIT Kit is designed to detect hidden blood in your stool, which can be an early sign of precancerous or early-stage colon cancer.
People using the FIT Kit to screen for colorectal cancer are advised to repeat the test every year. Other testing methods recommend different intervals for testing. By testing every year, the FIT Kit results can most accurately confirm the presence or absence of cancerous changes.
You can view, download, and print your results using the Labcorp Patient™ account.
In addition to viewing the results of your FIT Kit test, your Labcorp Patient account allows you to:
Your results will appear in the Patient Portal 48 hours after they are released to your healthcare provider. If you need follow-up testing and/or treatment based on the result of your FIT Kit test, your doctor will contact you to schedule next steps.
No special preparation is required before taking the FIT KIT test. After you collect your sample, follow the enclosed instructions for packing your FIT Kit for return shipping to a Labcorp facility for testing.
The FIT Kit sample can be stored for 15 days at room temperature. To help ensure the sample remains stable for testing, try to return your kit within 7 days of collecting the sample.
With a few exceptions, you can take the test at any time under any conditions that you would normally have a bowel movement.
Please note that because the FIT Kit is designed to detect trace amounts of blood, you should avoid collecting a sample at times when blood may be present in your stool for other reasons, such as 1) during your menstrual period, if you are female; 2) if you are experiencing bleeding hemorrhoids; 3) if you are constipated; and 4) if you are experiencing bleeding from your urinary tract.
Alcohol and certain medications, such as NSAIDs, may irritate your gut and cause bleeding. You may want to abstain from drinking alcohol or taking NSAIDs in the days leading up to the bowel movement you will sample for your FIT Kit.
The FIT Kit is designed to make collecting your stool sample safe and easy. Only a very small amount of stool (0.01 gram) is necessary to perform the test. The specially designed probe allows you to collect the sample with no direct contact with your stool.
After collecting your sample, you will reseal the test tube and deposit the sample in a sealed specimen bag. The tube and bag are both designed to medical industry standards and are safe to handle and ship through the mail.
Federal law requires both private insurers and Medicare to cover colorectal cancer screening starting at age 45. Visit https:// www.labcorp.com/provider-services/insurance-and-medicare for a list of insurance providers filed by Labcorp. The Labcorp FIT Kit is HSA/FSA accepted.
Also, you can order the FIT Kit directly from Labcorp OnDemand for $89. Learn more about ordering your own FIT Kit.
Paying for Labcorp services is straightforward and easy. You will be able to view and pay any bills from Labcorp through the same Labcorp Patient account you use to view your results.