Fecal Occult Blood Test

Occult Blood Test Helps Detect Colon Cancer

Also known as: Stool occult blood test, hemoccult, guaiac test

Your doctor may order a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) to screen for gastrointestinal bleeding, a possible indicator of colon cancer. The test may be part of a routine examination and is recommended annually for adults over age 50. The single collection system, has greatly improved screening rates for colorectal cancer. It is specific for human hemoglobin from the lower GI tract and eliminates the need for dietary restrictions. There are no medication restrictions. After collection, specimens are stable for five (5) days at room temperature.

Preparation and Procedure

  • For this test, you will need to collect a stool specimen. Before you can do this, you will need to obtain from the lab or your doctor the ClearView kit, which contains a sample vial, collection paper, sample bag and preaddressed mailer.
  • Write your first and last name, age, sex and sample collection date on the vial label.
  • To collect a stool sample; place the supplied collection paper inside the toilet bowl on top of the water. Deposit the stool sample on top of the collection paper.
  • Unscrew the green cap from the vial, and pull upwards. This is the sample probe.
  • Scrape the surface of the stool with the probe; cover the grooved portion completely with stool.
  • Close the sampling vial by inserting the sample probe and screwing the green cap tightly. DO NOT Reopen.
  • Flush the collection paper and remaining stool. The collection paper is biodegradable and will not harm septic tanks.
  • Remove the plastic sample bag and adsorbent paper from the cardboard mailer. Wrap the sample vial with the pad and place into the sample bag. If you have the doctor’s order place it into the mailer. Place bag into cardboard mailer, remove tape from flap, and press firmly to seal. Mail or deliver the sample to the lab. Extra postage will be required.

Time Required

Your time at the lab will be limited to the amount of time it takes to sign in, register with admitting and leave your specimen. Results from the test are typically sent to your doctor within days; be assured, however, that any critical results are communicated immediately. Your doctor will discuss the results with you once he or she has reviewed them.


Michigan law requires that a valid order signed by an authorized person be presented before any laboratory test or procedure can be conducted. Authorized persons are defined as physicians, physician assistants, or nurse practitioners. These professionals are legally responsible for interpreting the results of tests based on their knowledge of the individual patient.

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