What you should know about at-home colorectal cancer tests

null

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a disease of the colon or rectum. It’s the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of death in men and women in the U.S.1 However, the good news is that CRC is preventable and treatable when caught early.2

To support Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (March), Humana Pharmacy® explains the importance of colorectal screenings and the types of at-home tests available over-the-counter (OTC) or with a prescription. 

What’s a colorectal screening?

A colorectal screening test can find pre-cancerous polyps, small tissue growths, or cancer before symptoms appear.3  

Screening tests can be done at:4

  • Your home—these tests check your stool (fecal waste) for signs of cancer. They’re less invasive and easier to do with at-home screening tests.
  • Your healthcare provider’s office—these tests look inside the colon and rectum via a colonoscopy, a CT scan or X-rays. 

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends people with an average risk of CRC begin screenings at 45. People with a high risk of CRC should begin screenings before 45. Your family history, certain health conditions and lifestyle factors may determine your risk for CRC.5 If you have questions about your risk level for CRC, the best person to talk to is your healthcare provider. 

Types of at-home screenings

* The Colorectal Cancer Alliance defines sensitivity as the ability to identify colorectal cancer in people correctly. In other words, if the percentage is 73%, it means out of 100 people with colorectal cancer, 73 were correctly identified as having colorectal cancer.6 

† Specificity is the number of correctly identified people without colorectal cancer. If the percentage is 90%, out of 100 people, 90 without colorectal cancer were correctly identified.7 

How to get started

An easy way to get started with at-home colorectal cancer screening tests is to talk with your healthcare provider. They can tell you if an at-home test is right for you and may write you a prescription for select at-home tests covered by your Humana drug plan. You can also use your FSA and HSA accounts to purchase OTC at-home screening tests available online or at a local pharmacy. If you decide to buy a test online and need support, our pharmacists are available to help you by phone and live chat. 

Sources:

  1. “Know the facts,” Colorectal Cancer Alliance, last accessed February 25, 2022, https://www.ccalliance.org/colorectal-cancer-information/facts-and-statistics.
  2. “How can you prevent colorectal cancer?” Colorectal Cancer Alliance, last accessed February 25, 2022, https://www.ccalliance.org/screening-prevention/get-screened.
  3. “Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests,” American Cancer Society, last accessed February 25, 2022, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/screening-tests-used.html.
  4. “Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests.”
  5. “American Cancer Society Guideline for Colorectal Cancer Screening,” American Cancer Society, last accessed March 3, 2022, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/acs-recommendations.html
  6. “There are many choices for early detection,” Colorectal Cancer Alliance, last accessed February 25, 2022, https://www.ccalliance.org/screening-prevention/screening-methods.
  7. “There are many choices for early detection.”