What is a Fecal Occult Blood (FOB) Test?
Fecal occult blood (FOB) testing is a simple, inexpensive test that can detect blood in the stool. This specific test is considered an Immunoassay Fecal Occult Blood (iFOB or FIT) Test – a newer type of FOB Test that requires only a few simple steps to properly administer. Patients provide a fecal specimen to their doctor who will then use the collection tube to probe and collect a small amount of the sample. The sample is collected and mixed thoroughly into a buffering solution which is then placed onto the test itself. The rapid immunoassay test will display either a “positive” or “negative” result in under 5 minutes. This type of test is commonplace for a G.I. to perform as a basic screening for colon cancer, along with other gastrointestinal health issues such as Diverticulitis, Colitis, and Polyps. Positive results DO NOT indicate or diagnose any type of ailment or disease, they simply suggest that further tests should be administered. FOB Tests are recommended for routine physical examinations, screening for colorectal cancer, gastrointestinal bleeding as well as hospital monitoring for bleeding in patients.
Importance and Convenience of FOB Testing
Many gastrointestinal disorders can cause bleeding that is hidden in the stool. This bleeding can often go unnoticed as it is usually not visible to the naked eye during the early stages of development. Traditional guaiac-based testing (gFOB) lacks sensitivity, convenience (multiple steps and days required to perform) and specificity. On top of this, traditional gFOB testing requires dietary restrictions days before testing begins. iFOB testing is not affected by the diet of patients and provides results in 5 minutes or less. iFOB tests qualitatively detect low levels of fecal occult blood found in feces. This iFOB test will detect the presence of hemoglobin within the feces at a 50ng/mL cutoff level.