Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Updated old test accurately IDs colon cancer

Newer versions of the fecal occult
blood test is 90 percent accurate in
identifying colon cancer. (photo
courtesy Andrew Scott, Wikipedia)
A newer version of the inexpensive stool test proved to be 90 percent accurate in identifying colon cancer, according to a new study, Reuters Health reports.
The new test called the immunochemical fecal occult blood test, or iFOBT, has replaced the older version of the test but there have been few studies comparing it to the "gold standard" colonoscopy.  The new study led by Dr. Yi-Chia Lee of National Taiwan University Hospital was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal online Aug. 2, 2011 ahead of the print edition.

In the study 2,800 people voluntarily underwent the iFOBT and colonoscopy. A total of 28 of them were diagnosed with colon  cancer, all but one of them were identified by both the blood test and the colonoscopy. The one person missed by the iFOBT works out statistically to a 90 percent specificity rate, meaning the test would correctly rule out cancer in 90 percent of those who did not have cancer.
"It means that almost every case with colon cancer can be identified by iFOBT," Lee told Reuters Health in an email. "It is a strong support to iFOBT as an effective screening tool."

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