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Instructions for the immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT or FIT)


Your healthcare professional has prescribed an immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT).This test aims to detect the presence of blood hidden in stool that is invisible to the naked eye. Blood in stool can be a sign of colorectal cancer, commonly known as colon cancer. The iFOBT is simple and can be done at home. Also, it does not require a particular diet or preparation.

However, certain situations may skew the test results. For instance, if you have bleeding hemorrhoids, you should wait for the bleeding to stop before doing the test. Also, you should wait until the end of your menstrual bleeding to do the test.

Prepare the test

To do the test, you need the sample collection kit. This kit contains:

  • A cylindrical tube with a green cap
  • Waterproof, biodegradable paper
  • A plastic bag 

Take a sample

Here are the steps to follow to take a stool sample. For your results to be valid, it is important that you follow each of these steps carefully:

Step 1

Open your sample collection kit.

Step 2

When you are ready to do the test, take the tube  and legibly write the following information on the label:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your date of birth
  • The date and time collected

If your name is already indicated on the label, only write the date and time it is collected on the lines to the right of the barcode.

Step 3

Unfold the paper. Place it in the center of the toilet bowl, directly on top of clean water so that the sides of the paper stick to the bowl. If you prefer, you may use a clean plastic container or aluminum tray, which you will throw away after collecting the sample.

Step 4

When passing stool make sure that it falls on the paper or in the container. Stool must not be mixed with urine or another fluid prior to taking the sample. If you need to urinate, do so and flush before you pass stool, or urinate after you have collected the stool sample.

Step 5

Twist and pull the green cap to open the specimen tube.

Step 6

Scratch the surface of the stool lightly with the green stick attached to the tube’s cap before the paper sinks into the water. Only scrape a small quantity of stool, enough to cover the end of the stick. Leave the paper in the toilet bowl and flush.

Step 7

Put the stick back in the tube and close well. Do not open the tube once you have closed it.

Step 8

Wash your hands.

Step 9

Put the sample collection tube in the plastic bag and close it.

Step 10

Keep the bag in the fridge until you bring your stool sample to the designated location.

Bring the sample to the designated location

Bring your stool sample to the location indicated to you by the health care professional no later than 48 hours after collection.

If you have your prescription, put it in the bag with your sample.

After your sample has been analyzed, the appropriate follow-up of the result will be done by a health care professional.

Last update: November 20, 2023


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