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Best At-Home Colon Cancer Test (2023)
Updated on May 22, 2023
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Best At-Home Colon Cancer Test (2023)
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Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. It’s estimated that more than 52,000 Americans will die from it this 2022.1 

Colorectal cancer puts both men and women at risk; it can be genetic, but lifestyle factors add to this risk.

Thanks in part to early screening, the number of deaths caused by colorectal cancer has been decreasing by two percent every year since 2011.1,2

Early testing leads to earlier detection and removal of precancerous polyps. It also alerts the doctor to conduct a biopsy which detects colon cancer itself earlier, making it easier to treat.2

One way to check for polyps and colorectal cancer is with at-home colon cancer tests.

The Best At-Home Colon Cancer Tests Compared

At-Home Tests for Colon Cancer ScreeningType of testCost of testingSuggested ageNeeds prescriptionCertificationSpeed of Test ResultsPersonalized ReportMedical Support
LetsGetCheckedFIT$8918 and aboveNoCLIA-labs2 to 5 daysYesYes
EverlyWellFIT$4945 and aboveNoCLIA-labs and HIPAAWithin days of sending sampleYesNo
CologuardFIT DNAStarts at $58045 and above, or younger if high-riskYesFDA-approved2 weeksNoNo
Pinnacle BiolabsFIT$24.9945 and aboveNoFDA-approved for over-the-counter use4 to 7 mins.NoNo
EZ Colon Cancer TestFIT$845 and above, or younger if high-riskNoFDA-approved for over-the-counter use2 mins.NoNo

Why Take A Colon Cancer Test At Home?

Colon cancer usually starts as non-cancerous growths inside your colon or rectum. These are known as adenomatous or precancerous polyps.

Gene mutations—which you inherit from your parents or acquire after you’re born—cause these cells to continuously grow and divide, even if they don’t need to.

As polyps in the colon or rectum grow in number and in size, they can potentially eventually lead to colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, polyps and early stages of colon cancer may not cause symptoms.

If you’re asymptomatic, at-home testing can help you check for early signs of colon cancer from the comfort of your own home.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer increases a person’s odds of survival.3

What An At-Home Colon Cancer Test Shows

Polyps are abnormal growths of cells lining the colon or rectum. In time, these polyps can develop into colon or rectal cancer.4 

Some may experience bleeding in their rectum and pass bloody stools. Unfortunately, this blood may be “hidden” or not easily visible. 

Hidden blood (also known as microscopic or occult blood) refers to red blood cells that are too small to be seen by the naked eye. 

Stool testing can reveal the presence of microscopic blood and cells with abnormal DNA in stool, which may be signs of polyps or colorectal cancer.4 

You can choose from two types of at-home colon cancer tests:

  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) – checks for occult blood
  • FIT-DNA test – checks for both occult blood and cells with abnormal DNA

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How At-Home Colorectal Cancer Screening Works

At-home colon cancer tests require stool samples and a self-collection process. The collection method will be slightly different, depending on the kit you order. 

The availability of these tests may also vary:

  • Over-the-counter screening kits are purchased online or in pharmacies.
  • Prescription-only screening kits require a prescription before you can buy them. You can request these prescriptions online or through a doctor.

Each test is carried out differently. Some kits offer rapid colon cancer screening where you can get your results within minutes. 

Most companies analyze samples in laboratories. In this case, you’ll have to submit your sample. It can take days or weeks for your test results to arrive.

At-Home Colorectal Cancer Screening vs. On-Site Testing

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that persons aged 45 to 75 years undergo colorectal cancer screening.

In a professional medical setting, your doctor may order stool tests or visual examinations to screen for colorectal cancer, depending on which is available.

A visual exam, like a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, checks for any unusual growth inside your colon or rectum. This is recommended every five to 10 years, depending on your risk factors.

However, you need to prepare your bowels for the procedure. Your doctor may ask you to take laxatives or avoid eating solid foods.

Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are invasive procedures that require entry to the lower part of the intestines with the use of a scope. 

The doctor will sedate you before a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy and insert a tube with a camera into your anus.

Unlike visual exams, stool tests are non-invasive and don’t require bowel preparation. 

At-home kits offer FIT and FIT-DNA testing. This makes them practical alternatives if you want to conveniently assess your risk for colon cancer.

Best At-Home Colon Cancer Tests

We looked at over 10+ at-home colon cancer tests and reviewed them based on:

  • Value for money — what you get for the cost
  • Convenience — ease of ordering and sample collection
  • Age tested — ages eligible for colon cancer screening
  • CLIA-certified labs — for self-collect tests, this ensures that samples are analyzed in laboratories approved by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)
  • FDA clearance — for rapid testing kits, this ensures that the kit is cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for over-the-counter use
  • Speed of test results — how soon you can get your report
  • FSA & HSA Coverage — if it allows testing costs to be covered by your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA)

Using these criteria, we were able to pick the best at-home colon cancer tests:

LetsGetChecked Colon Cancer Screening Test — Our Top Pick

Best At-Home Colon Cancer Test (2023) 6
Type of testSelf-collect FIT test, over-the-counter
Age tested18 and above
Sample collectedStool sample
CertificationCLIA-approved labs
Speed of test results2 to 5 days
Accepts insuranceFSA & HSA
Provides medical supportYes

Why We Recommend It

This at-home test from LetsGetChecked makes colon cancer screening easy and accessible to most people. It’s available to anyone 18 and above.

While other companies offer similar tests, they are often limited to older adults.

You can easily collect stool and send it back using the instruction video or the guide printed out on the kit. To ensure your privacy, the send-in package is discreet and unidentifiable, just like your kit when it first arrives.

Stool samples are analyzed in CLIA labs for accuracy. Your results will come in after a few days and include a breakdown from board-certified physicians.

Despite the above-average cost, it’s the only test that includes medical support. A nurse can call to talk about your results and help you with the next steps if necessary.

You can use your FSA or HSA card to cover the cost of testing. But even if you pay for it upfront, $89 is not too bad a price for the convenience it offers.

EverlyWell FIT Colon Cancer Screening Test — Best for Over 45

Best At-Home Colon Cancer Test (2023) 7
Type of testSelf-collect FIT test, over-the-counter
Age tested45 and older
Sample collectedStool sample
CertificationCLIA-approved labs
Speed of test resultsWithin days of sending your sample
Accepts insuranceFSA & HSA
Provides medical supportNo

Why We Recommend It

EverlyWell’s FIT test hits several sweet spots that almost made it our top pick. 

To start off, it provides printed and video instructions, so you won’t have a hard time collecting samples. Your sample will also be analyzed in a CLIA lab. 

A board-certified physician from your state will review your results before sending them your way. It will include an explanation of what they mean, as well as actionable steps on what to do next.

EverlyWell is also HIPAA compliant. This means it follows the standards laid out by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to ensure the privacy of your personal information and your test results.

Only people who are 45 and older can take this fecal immunochemical test. EverlyWell also doesn’t provide medical support like LetsGetChecked

Still, it’s a bargain for $49. Your FSA or HSA may also help cover the cost.

Cologuard At-Home Colon Cancer Screening — Best Prescription Only

Best At-Home Colon Cancer Test (2023) 8
CostStarts at $580
Type of testSelf-collect FIT-DNA test, prescription only
Age tested45 and older
Sample collectedStool sample
Speed of test results2 weeks
Accepts insuranceMedicare, Medicaid, and most major providers
Provides medical supportNo

Why We Recommend It

Cologuard is a FIT-DNA test, which means that it screens for polyps and colon cancer by detecting blood and abnormal DNA in stool.

It’s available via prescription only. You can request a prescription online or with the help of your healthcare provider.

Before getting a stool sample, you have to collect a full bowel movement. Sample collection can get messy if you’re not careful enough.

This stool DNA test is expensive and may cost you anything upwards of $580. But if you have an in-network provider, you can get it for free or at a low cost.

Colguard is a good option if you want something in between an at-home test and a doctor-prescribed FIT test. It’s recommended for people over 45 with an average risk for colon cancer.

Pinnacle Biolabs Second Generation FIT Test — Best for Rapid Results

Type of testRapid FIT test, over-the-counter
Age tested45 and older
Sample collectedStool sample
CertificationFDA-approved for over-the-counter use
Speed of test results4 to 7 minutes
Accepts insuranceNo
Provides medical supportNo

Why We Recommend It

If you don’t want to wait days for your results, the Second Generation FIT is one of the fastest colorectal cancer screening tests. 

After just four to seven minutes, you’ll see your results. 

In a nutshell, it works like a pregnancy test. You’ll collect stool, mix it with a solution, and add a few drops to the cassette so it can read your sample. 

Besides testing for colon cancer, it can check for diverticulitis, colitis, and Crohn's Disease. Pinnacle Biolabs provides instructions and a video on how to take the test.

The company recommends screening at the age of 45. But if you have a first-degree relative with colorectal cancer, you should start screening 10 years before the age they were diagnosed.

EZ Detect Colon Disease Test — Best for Budget

Best At-Home Colon Cancer Test (2023) 10
Type of testRapid FIT test, over-the-counter
Age tested45 and older, or earlier if you’re high-risk
Sample collectedStool sample
CertificationFDA-approved for over-the-counter use
Speed of test results2 minutes
Health insuranceNo
Provides medical supportNo

Why We Recommend It

The EZ Detect Colon Cancer offers a quick and sanitary way to detect colorectal cancer. Unlike other tests on our list, it doesn’t require you to handle stool.

Simply drop one of the testing pads inside the bowl after a bowel movement and wait for two minutes. If it changes into a blue-green color, this means it was able to detect blood.

You have to repeat testing for three consecutive bowel movements. Test results can be recorded in the included postcard, which you can share with your doctor. 

Men and women aged 45 and older are advised to take the test. People younger than 45 should also take the test if they have a personal or family history of:

  • Polyps and/or colorectal cancer
  • Endometrial, ovarian, or breast cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Sold for only $8, it’s the best screening test for detecting colon cancer at an affordable price.

When To Test For Colon Cancer At Home

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has different guidelines for colon cancer screening, including which tests you need to take and how often.4 

ASCO doesn’t have guidelines for at-home colon cancer tests. But it does recommend fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) as follows:4

  • Every 1 to 2 years: If a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy isn’t offered where you live, you can take a FIT test every year or every two years.
  • Every year: If a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy is available in your area, you can take one of them every 10 years with an annual FIT test.

You can take fecal immunochemical tests in place of a guaiac fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every one to two years if it isn’t offered in your area or if you prefer them.

FIT DNA tests can be taken as an alternative to combined FIT and colonoscopy or combined FIT and flexible sigmoidoscopy if these visual tests are not available during screening.4 However, if FIT DNA tests are positive, a colonoscopy is still recommended.

In general, ASCO recommends screening for colon cancer if you’re between the ages of 50 and 75, asymptomatic, and have an average cancer risk.4

You should also consider testing if you live in a place where:4

  • Many people are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer
  • Many people are dying from colon or rectal cancer
  • Most people diagnosed with colorectal cancer had an advanced stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis

ASCO recommends more frequent screening if you have certain risk factors.4 

Examples include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Lynch syndrome, and a family history of colon cancer.

How to Interpret Your At-Home Colon Cancer Test Results

At-home colon cancer screening tests should be read according to their manufacturers’ specifications. Here are the possible results:

  • Positive test result: If you took a FIT test, this means it was able to detect blood in the sample. In a FIT-DNA test, it suggests that there’s a presence of blood and cells with abnormal DNA.
  • Negative test result: The test was unable to find blood (if it’s a FIT test) or blood and abnormal cells (if it’s a FIT-DNA test).

A positive result doesn’t confirm that you have colorectal polyps or cancer. There may be other reasons why there is blood in the stool. Further visualization of the colon and rectum is needed for confirmation.

Hemorrhoids, constipation, and other conditions may also cause rectal bleeding.

Are At-Home Colon Cancer Tests Accurate?

Yes. These tests are accurate for detecting blood and abnormal DNA in stool. However, false positives and false negatives are possible with these tests. 

For example, a woman who takes the test while on her period may lead to a false positive.

Pros & Cons Home Colon Cancer Testing

Colon cancer screening kits cannot diagnose colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps. But they allow you to check for early signs of these diseases.

There’s usually no need for a prescription. You can take most of these tests without seeing a doctor or visiting a laboratory early in the process.

That said, you have to test regularly (at least once a year) if you want to effectively screen for possible polyps and colon cancer.

At-home tests aren’t invasive, but you’ll have to collect the samples. Some people may feel uncomfortable with handling stool.

What To Do After Taking A Colon Cancer Test At Home

A positive result indicates there is blood in the stool, which may be an early sign of polyps or colon cancer. It’s important that you take these findings to a doctor.

Your doctor will likely recommend a follow-up colonoscopy to evaluate your condition. It’s considered the gold standard for colon cancer screening.

A colonoscopy checks for abnormal growths inside the colon and rectum. During the procedure, polyps are either removed for single growths to prevent cancer or biopsied first before any further steps are taken. 

Biopsies can help doctors determine whether the polyps they removed are cancerous or not.Early screening is important because treatments are more successful if you have fewer and smaller polyps or if your colon cancer is in its early stages.2

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Updated on May 22, 2023
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5 sources cited
Updated on May 22, 2023
  1. Cancer Stat Facts: Colorectal Cancer.” National Cancer Institute.
  2. Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer.” American Cancer Society.
  3. Survival Rates for Colorectal Cancer.” American Cancer Society.
  4. Early Detection for Colorectal Cancer: ASCO Resource-Stratified Guideline.” JCO Global Oncology: An American Society of Clinical Oncology Journal.
  5. American Cancer Society Guideline for Colorectal Cancer Screening.” American Cancer Society.
Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.
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