What is the Purpose of the Test?
Colorectal cancer screening is the least stressful examination method for the patient: it is quick, repeatable indefinitely and requires no intervention. This is a stool examination based on the fact that the metabolism of a tumor is different from that of a healthy cell. The tumor cells produce an enzyme called M2-PK in great numbers, exiting the body together with the faeces, thus enabling detection of the enzyme with the faecal immunology test method. All it takes is a very small stool sample, the quick test and the screening is completed after just a few minutes. There is also a “two-in-one” test that, besides showing the enzyme grown by the tumor, also shows blood in the stool, the human haemoglobin, thus increasing the test’s accuracy and sensitivity.
How do I need to prepare for the examination?
No preparation or diet is required - the faecal enzyme screening results are not going to be affected by the food you ate prior to the blood drawing. It is important, though, to keep in mind that, runny or diarrheal faeces or, possibly, faeces mixed with urine or water, is unusable in the test. In cases of inflammatory bowel disorders accompanied by diarrhea, such as Crohn’s disease, the enzyme screening test is not worth doing since in these cases the results obtained may be false.
What happens during the examination?
An immunchromatographic test is done using only a tiny amount (no bigger than the head of a pin) of stool sample from which possible M2-PK enzyme produced by tumor cells may be shown in 10-15 minutes. Only health care workers are allowed to perform this diagnostic test and only under proper conditions.
How reliable is the Faecal Enzyme Screening Test?
The accuracy of the ScheBo Tumor M2-PK test is about 85%.
In cases of what risk factors and /or symptoms is the test worth doing?
When there is a risk of colon cancer increased when found in the family history (diagnosed in a parent, sibling or child), when a polyp was found at one time, when a benign occurrence was found in the bowels or in the case of a chronic intestinal disorder. Certain life styles, such as a low fiber diet, lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption all are considered high risk factors.
Even if you have no symptoms or any risk factors, but are over fifty, this test is well worth doing.
Do not wait for this test if you have any symptoms of colon cancer, i.e., blood in the stool, recurrent bloating not explained by your eating habits, abdominal cramps, bowel problems (alternating diarrhea and constipation, need to defecate with no actual stool, etc.), unusually thin stool, often nauseated, feel full, no appetite, are fatigued, feel lethargic and unwanted weight loss, see your doctor immediately. The medical examination can clarify the cause behind these symptoms which could be harmless but could also signify serious problems.
Can the Faecal Enzyme Screening Test replace gastroscopy?
No, it cannot replace gastroscopy since the two differ in function and accuracy. Not only are the gastroscopy examination results one hundred percent accurate but their great advantage is that treatment can begin immediately during the course of the examination, small polyps can be removed and, if necessary, biopsies performed and tissue samples taken at the same time.
Is a follow-up examination necessary?
When the results are negative, since colon cancer develops slowly over time, it is advisable to have a Faecal Enzyme Screening Test once a year. In the event of positive results, further examinations will, of course, be necessary.
What needs to be done in the case of positive results?
A positive Faecal Enzyme Screening Test could mean the presence of polyps and/or colon tumors but it also could indicate inflammatory bowel disorders. In any event, it is important to clarify what is behind the positive results with further examinations and gastroscopy. If the tumor is benign and the test showed intestinal polyps, they also must be treated since, if not taken care of, they may turn malignant in the future. If treated in time, however, complete recovery may be attained.