Your doctor may recommend a fecal occult blood test to:
- Screen for colon cancer. If you're age 50 or older and at average risk of colon cancer, your doctor may recommend a fecal occult blood test every year to screen for colon cancer. In addition, however, you may need other screening tests that allow the doctor to examine the colon directly.
- Evaluate possible causes of unexplained anemia. Anemia is a condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues. Sometimes a fecal occult blood test is used to determine whether bleeding in your digestive tract — such as a bleeding ulcer — is contributing to anemia.