It started with a routine exam when Angie Hunt turned 40. While at the appointment, her personal doctor recommended a take-home fecal immunochemical (FIT) test*. “I wasn’t familiar with the FIT test, but while visiting with my doctor, she told me it might not hurt to do one,” says Hunt. After all, she was an unlikely candidate for colorectal cancer and didn’t feel any urgency to complete the test Opens in a new window once she got home. But when her doctor’s office called her with a reminder a few weeks later, she finally sent it in.
“Shortly afterwards, I got a call back from my doctor telling me they detected blood,” Hunt says.
Hoping the results would indicate something else, Hunt scheduled a colonoscopy. The test confirmed she had colorectal cancer.
Many patients are unfamiliar with these inexpensive at-home tests, which are accurate, low-risk and not invasive. Colonoscopies can be too expensive, invasive and time-consuming, and these stool-based tests are a valuable alternative for early detection.
By completing a follow-up call after Hunt’s appointment and encouraging her to complete the FIT test, her personal doctor was able to catch her cancer before she even was aware of any symptoms. In August 2016, Hunt had a foot of her colon removed along with 14 lymph nodes. “I feel incredibly fortunate that it was caught so early,” she says.
That single phone call made all the difference to Hunt — she leaned on her trusted personal doctor and charted a course that would help her become cancer-free in April 2017.
“I have a great relationship with my doctor,” says Hunt. “She’s been very proactive with me, encouraging me to do different types of screenings. I would have never thought to ask her about doing a FIT test at age 40.”
Hunt is a great example of how strong doctor-patient relationships can save lives. For more on Hunt and another Wellmark member, visit BlueSM online Opens in a new window.
Please note: The FIT test is covered as a preventive service at age 50. If under age 50, a member may receive this test but it will likely be subject to deductible and coinsurance.