Inexpensive Immunochemical Stool Test Effective Option for Colon Cancer Screening

August 2011, Vol 2, No 5 - Value Propositions

The immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT), a new version of the traditional FOBT, has demonstrated 90% specificity in detecting colon growths. This new version of the FOBT has been gradually replacing the old FOBT in screening for colon cancer. This high level of specificity firmly establishes the benefit of this test (Chiang TH, et al. CMAJ. Epub ahead of print. August 2, 2011). Although the FOBT is more expensive than the old FOBT, at a cost of approximately $30, its value is considerable compared with colonoscopy, which averages about $3000 per procedure. This newly validated level of specificity and the low cost will likely enhance the value of this newer version of the stool test as a screening option for a potentially deadly cancer.