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A self-administered test to detect blood in bowel motions, but not bowel cancer itself. The FOBT is analysed by a pathology laboratory, and the results forwarded to the participant and their primary health care practitioner (if one is nominated). For the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), two FOBT samples are collected.

Pathologists categorise the returned FOBT into one of three groups:

1. Correctly completed

2. Incorrectly completed

3. Unsatisfactory

Participants are provided with specific instructions on how to complete the FOBT. Any tests not completed according to these instructions are classified as incorrectly completed. Unsatisfactory tests are those that have expired, arrive at the laboratory more than 14 days after the first sample was taken or are damaged. Participants with FOBTs that are not correctly completed or are unsatisfactory are requested to complete another FOBT.


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