A Hemoccult test is a simple screening test that detects blood in the stool (bowel movements). It is a very sensitive test and can detect a small trace of blood even before it is visible to the naked eye. Your physician may call for a Hemoccult test simply as a precautionary measure as the test is used to help prevent colon cancer by searching for blood in the stool before it becomes visible to the eye.
The benefit of the Hemoccult test is that it will show hidden blood in the stool in an early curable stage of colon cancer. Even better, the Hemoccult test may prove positive before cancer is even detected, providing more time for intervention and cure. It does find hidden blood in the stool about 98% of the time, but since colon cancer and polyps may not bleed during the time of stool collection, a normal result may miss colon cancer and polyps. However, doing the test is better than doing nothing at all – the test will still pick up about 40% of cases that would have been missed if no testing was done.
Taking the Test
This is one test you don’t want to fail! Taking a Hemoccult test is quite simple and is done in the privacy of your own home. Your physician will give you the information and tools you need to complete the test. A positive outcome should not cause an over concern, but does require further investigation to determine the source of bleeding. Only diagnostic testing from a physician can determine the cause of the bleeding. Used correctly, the Hemoccult test can be an important aid in detecting cancer in its early (curable) stages of development.