Stool test: Information for women
Fecal occult blood tests (FOBTs) can detect hidden traces of blood that may come from tumors or in the colon. If such traces are found, a colonoscopy is performed to determine whether they're actually caused by a tumor or pre-cancerous tissue changes. It has been proven that, when combined with a colonoscopy, FOBTs can lower the risk of dying of .
FOBTs detect non-visible (occult) traces of blood in stool samples. "Hidden" blood in stool could be a sign of colorectal or cancer. It is usually caused by something else, though, such as an of the lining of the stomach (gastritis).
This is why stool blood tests are meant to be used as preliminary tests. If the FOBT results are abnormal, a colonoscopy is done to take a closer look. This is necessary in order to find out what is causing the bleeding. So doing an FOBT makes the most sense if you're also prepared to have a colonoscopy if the test results are abnormal.
In Germany, statutory health insurers will cover the costs of immunological stool tests used for this purpose. They are now used instead of the chemical stool tests because they are more accurate. Women between the ages of 50 and 54 are eligible for one FOBT per year, and then every two years after they turn 55. If the test detects traces of blood, the results of the colonoscopy that is then performed will determine what needs to be done next. After the colonoscopy, people don't need to have another FOBT for a few years.