By: Daphne Sashin | Penn Medicine News
Black Americans are more likely to get colorectal cancer — and even more likely to die from the disease — than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. And while Black people experience health disparities across a host of diseases, colorectal cancer is largely preventable through screening. Furthermore, at-home stool testing kits — which take just a few minutes to administer and don’t require colon prep or a visit to the doctor’s office — are as valid a form of screening as a colonoscopy for many people.
That was the premise behind a unique community-based campaign that Penn Medicine joined this year with WURD, Philadelphia’s Black-owned and -operated talk radio station, and other organizations to provide free fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) kits and follow-up support to Philadelphia residents.
At-home testing kits use a stool sample collected by the patient to test for blood, which can be a sign of polyps or cancer in the colon or rectum. For people without additional risk factors, the at-home kits can be as effective as a colonoscopy in preventing cancer if done every year.