FIT at Fifty HealthCheck Program
Colon Cancer Screening
Uninsured Arizonans over 50 years of age, that meet the eligibility requirements for the FFHP, are able to receive free colon cancer screening and diagnostic services. If you have a primary family member ( mother, father, child, sister, or brother) who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the FFHP will provide screening ten years prior to that person's age at diagnosis. For example; if your mother was diagnosed at the age of 50, the FFHP will provide screening for you starting at age 40. Subsequent screenings depend on the screening method and outcomes and fall within USPSTF guidelines.
What to Expect:
The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is a simple at-home test that uses antibodies to detect blood in the stool. For the test, you will receive a test kit from your health care provider. At home, you will use the brush included in the kit to obtain a small sample of stool. You will then return the test kit to the doctor or a lab, where the stool samples are checked for the presence of blood. (Ref: CDC CRCCP)
- Bowel Prep before Colonoscopy
To ensure a complete and accurate exam, the colon must be completely emptied. Your doctor's office will provide you with detailed instructions for bowel preparation prior to your colonoscopy. These instructions should be followed exactly as prescribed or the procedure may be unsatisfactory, and may need to be repeated.
- During the Colonoscopy
You will be asked to remove your clothing and wear a gown provided to you by the screening facility. The exam is most often performed under sedation - either through a pill or IV sedative. For the exam, you will be instructed to lie on your side on an exam table and the sedative will be administered. Once the sedative has taken effect, the doctor will insert a colonoscope into your rectum. The scope is a long tube that has a light, video camara and a channel. The channel allows the doctor to pump air into your colon, inflating it to provide better view of the lining of the colon. During this process you may feel abdominal cramping or the urge to have a bowel movement. The video camara at the tip of the colonoscope sends images to an external monitor so the doctor can closely examine the inside of your colon. The channel in the colonoscope allows the doctor to insert instruments through it to take tissue samples or remove polyps if necessary.
- After the Exam
After the colonoscopy, you will be observed in a recovery area until the effects of the sedative begin to wear off. You should arrange to have someone drive you home as you may feel groggy for some time after from the sedation. You should not plan on returning to work or driving for the rest of the day. Most people are able to resume eating normally after the exam. If a polyp or abnormal tissue was removed during the exam, your doctor will send it to a lab for testing. Your doctor will review the lab results with you as soon as he/she receives them.