The Scottish Cancer Prevention Network has invited members, colleagues and regular SCPN newsletter contributors to recommend what they have been reading on cancer prevention during 2016. We’ve asked each one to recommend the paper they thought would be most valuable to share. This paper has been nominated by Prof Callum G Fraser, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Research into Cancer Prevention and Screening, Honorary Professor, University of Dundee and Honorary Consultant Clinical Biochemist, NHS Tayside

callum-g-fraserTitle: Increased uptake and improved outcomes of bowel cancer screening with a faecal immunochemical test: results from a pilot study within the national screening programme in England

Authors: Moss S, Mathews C, Day TJ, Smith S, Seaman HE, Snowball J, Halloran SP


Why is this paper important?

This excellent paper describes a study performed within the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in England to assess the acceptability and diagnostic performance of a faecal immunochemical test for haemoglobin (FIT). Over a 6-month period, 40930 subjects (1 in 28 invites) were sent a FIT instead of a traditional gFOBT.  Effects of cut-off concentration, age, sex, screening history and deprivation quintile were examined in detail and a series of superb graphs presented. As found in the pilot of FIT in Scotland,1,2 improved participation rates were achieved over gFOBT and disparities were reduced. It was most pleasing to see, presumably in part because of this paper, that a change to FIT in England was confirmed by Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, on 07 June 2016. In Scotland, Shona Robison had already announced the move from gFOBT to FIT on 18 February 2015. On 08 November 2016, government in Wales publicised the move to FIT as soon as practicable.

Main take home messages

Bowel screening in the UK will undoubtedly become “fitter for purpose” in the next few years with the move from gFOBT to FIT.

1 Steele RJC, et al. United European Gastroenterol J 2013;1:198-205.

2 Digby J, et al. J Med Screen. 2013;20:80-5.


We’ll be sharing Papers of the Year throughout December – keep an eye out on our Twitter feed for more updates. Each of the papers will be available here as they are posted.