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. Non-negative 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.
Why Perform a Fecal Occult Blood Test?
This simple 3-step test can be performed in the comfort of your own home or in a professional setting by your general practitioner. Fecal occult blood tests are typically used as a screening method to identify potential ailments or diseases such as colorectal cancer (typical screening takes place yearly for patients over the age of 50), gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, and Chron’s disease to name a few. This test is simply a screening mechanism used to determine if further, more comprehensive testing is necessary.
Importance and Convenience of Fecal Occult Blood 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.
Causes of Blood in the Feces
There are multiple reasons as to why an individual may have blood in their feces. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Ulcers in or around the gastrointestinal tract
- Colorectal Cancer
- Anal Fissures
- Chron’s Disease
Fecal Occult Blood Test Instructions
Performing this onsite fecal occult blood test is a simple process. First, the donor will provide the sample on the specimen collection sheet provided in the package. Upon collection, you will then unscrew the cap from the collection tube and poke the spiral applicator into the sample in 6 different locations on the sample. Screw the applicator back into the collection tube and shake well. Finally, squeeze 3 drops onto the testing cassette and results will appear in 5 minutes.
Interpreting Results of the Fecal Occult Blood Test
After the sample is provided onto the testing cassette, wait for about 5 minutes for the results line(s) to appear. Two lines indicate a negative result, while one single line indicates a non-negative result. Please note, Non-negative results DO NOT indicate or diagnose any type of ailment or disease, they simply suggest that further tests should be administered. If an invalid result is produced (single line on bottom only), disregard and dispose of test and try again with another unit.