What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is a term used to refer to cancer of the rectum or intestines, also known as the colon. It is the third most common cancer among both men and women.
Why should I care about colorectal cancer?
Colon cancer is a silent killer – its symptoms may not fully develop until the cancer has progressed.1 When caught early, the five-year survival rate is as high as 90%.2 Completing an FOBT or FIT screening test such as the InSure® FIT™ test annually can increase your chances of detecting this common cancer in its early, treatable stages. Ask your physician about the InSure FIT screening test.
How often should I be tested?
It depends on the screening method you choose. The American Cancer Society and other leading medical groups recommend that all people 50 years of age and older at average risk should be screened regularly for the disease. If you believe you are at higher than average risk for colorectal cancer, speak to your doctor about what may be right for you.3,4 For FOBTs or FITs, such as the InSure FIT test, you should get tested annually.
Are certain patients at a higher risk for developing colorectal cancer?
Yes. Several factors could elevate your risk for developing colorectal cancer:5,6
Age: Colorectal cancer is more likely to occur as people age. Although the disease can occur at any age, both men and women age 50 years or older are at increased risk for the disease.
Polyps: Polyps are growths on the inner wall of the colon or rectum and are relatively common in people over age 50. Polyps are often noncancerous; however, experts believe that most colorectal cancers develop in certain types of polyps, called adenomas. Finding and removing polyps can help prevent colorectal cancer.
Personal or family history: If you’ve already had colorectal cancer, you are at an increased risk of developing it again. Also, research shows that some women with a history of ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer have a higher-than-average risk of developing colorectal cancer. Close relatives (parents, siblings, or children) of a person who has had colorectal cancer are also at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer themselves.
What Should I Do? What are My Options?
There are numerous screening options, including but not limited to:3,4,5
Annual tests you take at home, then send to a lab or physician for analysis:
- Guaiac fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT): These tests check for hidden blood in and around the stool. There are differences in the sensitivity and ease-of-use of these take-at-home sample-collection tests. Some require you to scoop your stool onto a card; others simply work with a long-handled brush and toilet water.
- The InSure FIT is the fecal immunochemical test available that provides highly sensitive, and easy-to-use options for patients to check for blood in the stool, simply by swishing the toilet water above the stool and dabbing the water on a card. The cards are returned for analysis to Quest Diagnostics for the InSure FIT.
Tests you take at your doctor’s office or hospital:
- Sigmoidoscopy: an examination of the rectum and lower colon using a lighted instrument called a sigmoidoscope. Sigmoidoscopy can find precancerous or cancerous growths in the rectum and lower colon. This test is recommended every five years as a screening option.
- Colonoscopy: an examination of the rectum and entire colon using a lighted instrument called a colonoscope. This test is recommended every 10 years as a screening option. Colonoscopy can find precancerous or cancerous growths throughout the colon, including the upper part of the colon, where they would be missed by sigmoidoscopy.
What is the difference between a guaiac-based FOBT test and the InSure FIT screening test?
Both colorectal screening tests check for blood in the stool – but the collection methods are very different:
Most tests for fecal occult blood require patients to collect solid stool samples, seal the samples into a test kit and send the samples off to a lab for testing and analysis.
- The InSure FIT tests with the unique Blue Brush Method do not require patients to collect solid stool samples. Instead, the test includes an easy-to-use, long-handled, blue-colored water collection brush and testing card which patients use in the convenience of their home. With the InSure FIT test, patients take toilet water samples from two consecutive bowel movements. They dab each water sample onto a testing card, and send it to Quest Diagnostics for testing. Because InSure FIT tests detect human hemoglobin from blood, there are no drug or dietary restrictions required to complete the tests.
Are the InSure FIT tests effective in detecting colorectal cancer?
Yes. Both tests use the InSure FIT technology, which has demonstrated an 87% sensitivity for colorectal cancer.7
How can I obtain the InSure FIT test?
Ask your physician for an InSure FIT screening test or order online, click here.
Are colorectal cancer screenings covered by my insurance?
Colorectal cancer screening tests are covered by most insurance plans. Please contact your health plan for coverage information for your plan.
- American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2007. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, 2007. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/downloads/STT/CAFF2007PWSecured.pdf.
- O’Connell JB, Maggard MA, Ko CY. Colon cancer survival rates with the new American Joint Committee on Cancer Sixth Edition staging. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004:96:1420-1425. (American Cancer Society “Detailed Guide: Colon and Rectum Cancer: How Is Colorectal Cancer Staged?” Available at www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_3X_How_is_
- American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines. Accessed February 4, 2008. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_2_3X_How_is_
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Colorectal Cancer: Recommendations and Rationale. July 2002. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
- Detailed Guide: Colon and Rectum Cancer - What Are the Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer?: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_2X_What_are_
- National Cancer Institute. Colorectal Cancer Screening: Questions and Answers. Accessed February 4, 2008. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Detection/colorectal-screening
- InSure FIT and InSure Quik F I T product inserts