A new study finds an easy, at-home test can pick up most colorectal cancers. It's called the fecal immunochemical test----or FIT.
Kaiser Permanente researchers reviewed previous studies and found the tests detect about 80 percent of colon cancers.
Kaiser researcher Dr. Elizabeth Liles explains, "the reasoning is that early colorectal cancers bleed. The test is meant to pick up on that bleeding and, if positive, a colonoscopy is then warranted."
The review also showed FIT tests that used just one fecal sample were just as accurate as tests that required 2 or three.
Kaiser oncologist Joanna Schottinger recommends yearly FIT tests for average risk patients between 50 and 75.
But she adds, "if you're at higher risk of colon cancer because you have a family history, or you've had a polyp before, then you should get screened earlier and your screening should involve colonoscopy."
The Centers for Disease Control says about a third of Americans who should be getting screened for colon cancer go without it. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death, but most can be prevented with regular colonoscopies.