Hemoccult Test

Hemoccult test checks the presence of blood in stool of a patient. While some blood may be clearly visible in tool, at times, it might not be seen with the naked eye. This test can be helpful in detecting hidden blood in stool. One only needs to send a small sample using a special card for examination in a laboratory. It is a sensitive test that is capable of sensing small traces of blood that you might not even see with your naked eye.

Why take this test?

Hemoccult test is intended to help in detecting if there is occult blood in stool that probably may not be seen. The results may be used to determine if one could have colon cancer so that early treatment begins. Colon cancer is a common but sneaky disease. Many of the patients with this type of cancer are incurable by the time they notice their first symptom.

Sponsored link.

In spite of rigorous treatment such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy, most of the patients will succumb to this cancer. When it has advanced, the rate of cure of this disease becomes quite low. Conversely, colorectal cancer, if diagnosed and detected in time before it advances, there are higher chances of being cured of the disease.

An early detection within a localized stage could assist in successively treating the disease. Up to 85% of colon cancer cases can be treated successively if they are diagnosed early in advance. However, when patients wait for the symptoms to appear in order to seek for treatment, already the cancer has spread to other body parts and treating it is difficult.

Early detection can assist in saving thousands of lives each year especially when done within the curable stage. In some incidents, hemoccult test is able to show hidden blood in stool in people who have colon cancer that is in its early curable stage. Better still, this test may be positive before even the cancer cells have developed.

Hemoccult test – procedure

Doing this test is quite simple and what you need is to take a thin daub of stool specimen obtained from your toilet bowl. Place the smear specimen onto the window in test slides in your kit. You can do this two times in each of the three consecutive bowel movements. The specimen is then mailed or delivered to the doctor office.

To ensure accuracy, you should not provide sample when in menstrual period. You may want to wait until three days after the menstrual period. Do not collect sample when you have blood in urine and bleeding hemorrhoids. Three days before the test, you might want to avoid taking red meat, vitamin C tablets, raw broccoli, parsnips, horseradish, turnips, melons, radishes, and cauliflower.  Rare, cooked, or processed lamb, beef, and liver could affect the results of hemoccult test.

Sponsored link.

Interpreting the test results

In laboratory, the sample will be tested for presence of blood. Testing the card is not difficult. The technician takes the sample, opens it and applies a few drops of chemical in each of the three stool specimens. If hemoglobin blood protein is detected in stool, it will react with the chemical developing solution and turn into blue. This will mean that there are traces of blood found in your stool. There is a control strip in each card to help in the test to ensure the solution is active and fresh. The developing solution will turn the control strip into blue meaning the card may be trusted.

This test should be done by people over the age of 40. It is recommended that the test be done annually even if one does not have symptoms. It should be part of a patient’s annual checkup from a gynecologist or family doctor. Anyone who has a visible rectal bleeding, as in the case of hemorrhoids, should not do the test. The test is intended in looking for hidden blood in stool. If one has visible blood in stool, no need of doing the hemoccult test.

What does a positive hemoccult test result mean mean?

If the sample tests positive of hemoglobin, it does not necessary mean that you have colon cancer. It is an indication there are blood traces found in stool. This means you have to undergo other tests to determine what could be causing the blood.

There are many other causes of blood in stool such as ulcers, fissures, hemorrhoids, and other digestive tract problems. If you have blood in stool that is detected from the hemoccult test, you should seek further examination to establish what is causing it. A colonoscopy is conducted by a doctor. 

What does a negative test result mean?

A negative result could mean that there is no blood in stool, but this may happen even when one has colon cancer. The colon cancers and polyps tend to bleed intermittently meaning that in one day, the tissue may bleed but fails to bleed again for some days. The test may not be very assuring and at times, it may miss polyps and colon cancer to as much as 60 percent of the times. The test should not be relied upon as the only screening method for colon cancer.

Sponsored link.

Filed in: Medical Tests | Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author (Author Profile)

Leave a Reply

Trackback URL | RSS Feed for This Entry