This month SCPN has invited regular SCPN newsletter contributors to tell us about what they have been reading on cancer prevention during 2015. We asked for one paper they thought valuable to share. Professor Callum Fraser has contributed a NICE guideline for your enjoyment.

Title: Suspected cancer: recognition and referral

Authors: NICE guideline: Published: 23 June 2015


cWhy is this guideline important?

In the draft guideline, this statement appeared: in possible colorectal cancer, patients who do not meet criteria for suspected cancer referral should be offered testing for occult blood in faeces. This caused much weeping and wailing from the great and the good.  But, it remained in the final NG12 guideline, stirring further widespread negativity.  However, the fantastic outcome for me is that in-depth discussion was stimulated about tests for detection of haemoglobin in faeces.  It has now become quite clear that recent work provided irrefutable evidence that newer Faecal Immunochemical Tests (FIT) are excellent for use in primary care to rule out significant colorectal disease. Thus, controversy stimulated debate, positivity is now creeping in, and laboratories are establishing FIT, not the obsolete FOBT, to satisfy the guidelines: an excellent outcome!