Biomarkers

What is Fecal Occult Blood? High and low values | Lab results explained

The fecal occult blood test (=FOBT) looks for blood in your feces. “Occult” (=hidden) means that the blood amount is so small that it cannot be seen with the naked eye. The bleeding does not change the color of the stool or result in visible bright red blood. Therefore, the blood is found only by testing the stool for blood in the laboratory.

Blood in the stool means there is likely some kind of bleeding in the digestive tract. It can be a sign of a problem in your digestive system, such as a growth, or polyp, or cancer in the colon or rectum.

– This test is a screening that may help find colorectal cancer early, when treatment is most effective.

– Occult blood means that you can’t see it with the naked eye.

– Identifies microscopic amounts of blood in the stool

Higher levels:

Blood in the stool is a sign of bleeding in the digestive tract. This could indicate cancer, polyps, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, or inflammatory bowel disease, also called colitis.

– Assess for cause of bleeding (i.e., Ulcers, polyps, diverticulitis, IBD, colorectal cancer, etc.)

– One positive test warrants further investigation. The fecal occult blood test can only detect the presence or absence of blood — it doesn’t indicate potential sources of bleeding.

– Occult blood in the stool may indicate colon cancer or polyps in the colon or rectum, though not all cancers or polyps bleed.

– Your test could show a positive result when you have no cancer (false-positive result) if you have bleeding from other sources, such as a stomach ulcer, hemorrhoid, or even blood swallowed from your mouth or your nose.

– You may need additional testing, such as a colonoscopy, to locate the source of the bleeding.

References:

– Occult blood in faeces is associated with all-cause and non-colorectal cancer mortality [L]

Disclaimer:

The information on healthmatters.io is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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