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Results

There are two different tests available – the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and colonoscopy. Learn about the results for each test below.

FIT

Your health care provider will receive your test result about two weeks after you drop off your sample.

  • The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is the test used in BC Cancer's Colon Screening Program. It measures the amount of blood in your stool sample. An abnormal result means that blood was found in your stool. Blood in the stool suggests an individual is at higher risk of having colon cancer.
  • In general, FIT is recommended as a screening test every two years for those ages 50-74 who are of average risk.
  • If you have an abnormal FIT result, the Colon Screening Program recommends that you have a follow-up colonoscopy. Patients with abnormal FIT results who have their FIT result registered in the program will automatically be referred to their health authority for a pre-colonoscopy assessment. 
  • An abnormal FIT result is common. About 10-15 percent of people screened with FIT will have an abnormal result and will require additional testing. An abnormal result does not mean that cancer was found. As patients with an abnormal result are at greater risk for precancerous polyps or cancer, it is important to attend to follow-up procedures.

Yes, if you are due for rescreening, please see your health care provider for a requisition to pick up your FIT. In general, anyone between the ages 50-74 who is not experiencing symptoms, should screen for colon cancer every two years with the FIT.

  • ‎The Colon Screening Program recommends that all abnormal FIT results be followed up with a colonoscopy. Even if the second test is normal, the Colon Screening Program recommends follow-up colonoscopy.
  • No screening test is perfect. Some polyps and/or cancers may have been bleeding at the time of the first FIT but not bleeding when you took the second FIT. Or, the second sample (the negative result) was taken from a part of your stool that had a lesser amount or no blood.
A normal result means that no blood was found in the stool sample you submitted. Screening finds many non-cancerous polyps and colon cancers, but no screening test is perfect. Regular screening offers the best chance of detecting the early signs of cancer. Current screening guidelines recommend re-testing every two years until age 74.

If you have bowel symptoms or other health concerns, contact your health care provider.

If you have a normal result, you may access your result through MyCareCompass. If you do not have a MyCareCompass account, you can sign up for one within 30 days of picking up your FIT from the lab. Otherwise, you may contact your health care provider for your result.

An abnormal FIT result means that blood was found in the stool sample that you submitted. Abnormal FIT results are common and do NOT mean that you have cancer.  


On average, 10-15 percent of people screened with FIT will have an abnormal result and will require additional testing. This does not mean that a cancer was found – over 96 percent of people with an abnormal FIT result will be found to not have cancer.

Some of these patients may have polyps, which are small growths that can develop in the colon or rectum, often with no symptoms in the early stages of growth. Most polyps will never turn into cancer, and for those that do, it will take many years for this transition, which is why people between the ages of 50 to 74 years should be screened regularly.

If you receive an abnormal FIT result, do not repeat the test in hopes of receiving a different result. Even if you receive a normal FIT result on a later test, the recommendation to proceed to colonoscopy would not change. The cause of the blood detected in your original sample still requires further investigation.

For more information on what it means to have an abnormal FIT result, watch this video.

‎An abnormal FIT result simply means that blood was found in the stool sample that you submitted. FIT can only tell us that you may be bleeding from somewhere in your lower digestive tract. It cannot tell us from which part or why.


FIT is a screening test that can only detect blood in the stool. FIT is not a diagnostic test. This means that while FIT can find one sign that may indicate cancer (blood in the stool), it cannot be used to diagnose cancer. 

There may be a number of different reasons why blood was found in your stool, including hemorrhoids (sometimes painless or internal), ulcers, anal fissures, diverticular disease, or inflammation. If you have an abnormal FIT result, it is important that you attend all follow-up appointments to find out why the result was abnormal.

After you have received your abnormal FIT result in the mail, a patient coordinator will contact you. A patient coordinator is a nurse that works with your local health authority. He or she will assess your condition and book a colonoscopy procedure if appropriate, or let you know if other monitoring or treatment is advised.


If you receive an abnormal FIT result, do not repeat the test in hopes of receiving a different result. Even if you receive a normal FIT result on a later test, the recommendation to proceed to colonoscopy would not change. The cause of the blood detected in your original sample still requires further investigation.


Please speak with your health care provider if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Blood in your stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss
Colonoscopy is a procedure that allows a colonoscopist to see the inside lining of the rectum and colon using a special instrument called a colonoscope. A colonoscope is a flexible tube with a miniature camera attached to one end so that the colonoscopist can take pictures and videos of your colon. During a colonoscopy, tissue samples can be collected and abnormal growths can be removed.
Colonoscopy can help you get ahead of cancer. An abnormal FIT result means that blood was found in your
stool, and investigating the cause of the bleeding is important. Attending your scheduled colonoscopy
appointment now helps to minimize your risk of colon cancer. Delaying your colonoscopy appointment
following an abnormal FIT result can increase your risk of colon cancer.
The FIT is a good test, but no test is 100% accurate. There is a chance that a cancer can be missed if it was not bleeding when the screening test was taken. However, regular screening offers the best chance of detecting the early signs of cancer.



Colonoscopy

You will be given preliminary results before you leave the hospital. Then, approximately two weeks after your procedure, the patient coordinator or the colonoscopist will inform you of your complete results and answer your questions during the follow-up call. Your doctor will also receive your results.

If your colonoscopy is normal, your personal history will determine when you will be re-screened. Your patient coordinator or colonoscopist will advise you of your next screening date.

If your colonoscopy is abnormal, further procedures or more regular surveillance may be necessary. The patient coordinator, colonoscopist, or your doctor will explain the process for further appointments and next steps.

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