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Understanding Your Test Results

How will I know the result of the fecal immunochemical test (FIT)?

The SPCRC will notify you and your doctor of the results of the FIT.

What if my screening result is normal?

A normal result means that blood was not found in your stool. The test should be repeated every two years. The SPCRC will send you another letter and test kit in two years’ time.

What does it mean if my screening result is unsatisfactory?

This means that your sample could not be analyzed. There are several reasons why the sample could be unsatisfactory for testing, e.g., if you did not include the date that you collected the sample on the participant form or if the sample container had expired. If the result is unsatisfactory, the SPCRC will send you a new FIT kit so you can retake the test.

What if my screening result is abnormal?

An abnormal result means that blood was found in your stool. The SPCRC will send the results to your family doctor. Your doctor or a client navigator will contact you about the appropriate follow-up care, which may include a colonoscopy.

What follow-up tests will I need to have?

In most cases, your doctor will request a colonoscopy, which is a visual examination of the colon using a fiber optic endoscope. A colonoscopy can detect inflamed tissue, ulcers and abnormal growths. There are also other diagnostic tests that your doctor may request.

What happens during a colonoscopy?

During a colonoscopy, patients lie on their left side on an examination table. In most cases, a light sedative, and possibly pain medication, is given to help patients relax. The doctor inserts a long, flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope, or scope, into the anus and slowly guides it through the rectum and into the colon. The scope inflates the large intestine with air to give the doctor a better view. A small camera mounted on the scope transmits a video image from inside the large intestine to a computer screen, allowing the doctor to carefully examine the intestinal lining. Your surgeon or the client navigator will provide detailed information regarding your procedure or test.

What if the doctor sees a growth during a colonoscopy?

A doctor can remove growths, called polyps, during a colonoscopy and have the sample tested for signs of cancer. Polyps are common in adults and are usually harmless. However, most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp, so removing polyps early is an effective way to prevent cancer.

How will I know the results of my colonoscopy?

Your doctor will receive the results of your colonoscopy and help to arrange further care if it is needed.

What if the result of the sample taken shows signs of cancer?

Your doctor will review the results of your test with you and discuss the available treatment options.

What if my colonoscopy is normal?

If the results of your colonoscopy are normal, you can return to the SPCRC for regular screening two years after the date of your colonoscopy as long as you remain eligible for the program. You will not have to do anything. The SPCRC will send you a letter and kit when you are scheduled for your next screening test. 

For more information about your FIT result, please contact your doctor or nurse practitioner, or call the SPCRC toll free at 1-855-292-2202.

SCA Home | Screening | Colorectal | Understanding Your Test Results