Blood in the stool could point to more than colon cancer

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Blood in the stool could point to more than colon cancer

Blood in the stool can be an indicator of cancer, as well as of other health concerns.

A standard test for colon cancer that looks for blood in the stool may turn up more risks than doctors or patients bargained for, researchers reported Monday.

They found that patients who had hidden blood in their stool had a higher risk of dying from colon cancer. That was no surprise.

But they also found that people with blood in their stool had a 58 percent higher risk of dying from other causes as well.

The surprising finding indicates that hidden blood in the stool could be a sign of a range of potentially fatal diseases, some of them not normally associated with internal bleeding, the team reported in the journal Gut.

“If the eye is the window to the soul, is a fecal test the window to general health?” Dr. Uri Ladabaum of the Stanford University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, asked in a commentary.

Dr. Robert Steele of Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Scotland, and his colleagues looked at the medical records of more than 130,000 people who took fecal occult blood tests in the region from 2000 to 2016. The test looks for tiny traces of blood in the stool, a way of screening people for colon cancer.

Over that time, about 2 percent of the people, about 2,700 of them, had positive tests.

Read on: Blood in the stool could point to more than colon cancer 

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