Who should take the FIT Colon Cancer Screening Test?

For people who are at average risk of colorectal cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommend yearly FIT testing for individuals between the ages of 45-75.

This test measures the presence of occult blood in stool as one method of assessing potential colon cancer or precancerous lesions or polyps. This means that conditions or procedures that involve or result in genital or rectal bleeding, including, but not limited to menstruation, diverticulitis, IBS, hemorrhoids, post-colonoscopy or polyp removal, can result in false positive results to this test. Individuals with these conditions are advised to wait until no genital or rectal bleeding is occurring to collect a test sample. Positive results on this test are not a diagnosis of colon or colorectal cancer, and require follow-up with a healthcare professional, where additional testing such as a colonoscopy is generally indicated as the next step. An independent physician will determine whether to authorize your FIT test request, if appropriate. The test is intended for those ages 45-75.

For people above the age of 75, other factors must be considered, such as general health and willingness to undergo intervention should your screening results be positive.

You’re considered to be at average risk if you do not have:

  • A family history or predisposition of colon cancer (such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis)
  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • A personal history of colorectal cancer, adenomas or other related cancers
  • A positive result from another screening method in the last year

The age of initial FIT screening and surveillance intervals are highly dependent on the nature of the risk for individuals who are considered high risk. If any of the above apply to you, it is recommended you follow up with your healthcare provider about when to initiate colorectal cancer screening, what type of screening test is most appropriate, and how frequently you should repeat screening.

* American Cancer Society: Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022

** National Cancer Institute: SEER Cancer Stat Facts−Colorectal Cancer

This colon screening test is not a replacement for a colonoscopy. The test is designed to show if blood is detected in your stool, which may be associated with colorectal polyps and cancers. False positive and false negative results may occur. Any positive FIT test result should be shared with your healthcare provider and followed up with a colonoscopy. Do not use this test if you have adenomas, inflammatory bowel disease, certain hereditary syndromes, or a personal family history of colorectal cancer. All tests are ordered and reviewed by an independent physician. Individuals age 75+ should follow up with their healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of screening.