Faecal immunochemical tests for haemoglobin (FIT) are now used in asymptomatic bowel screening programmes and also in assessment of patients presenting with lower bowel symptoms. FIT specimen collection devices have a stick attached to the cap of the tube: this stick has dimples or grooves near the end to collect the correct amount of faeces. Our instructions are simple, namely, “dip the end of the stick into your poo” and “scrape the end of the stick along the sample”, and have pictures of exactly what sample is required. However, many seem surprised at how little faeces is collected, only 2 mg in the FIT used in Scotland for both clinical purposes. Interestingly, some assume that more must be better and do try very hard to give a little (or a lot) extra in the device! To date, very little attention has been paid to this aspect of FIT. Recently, however, a very relevant paper has been published.1
To all those using, or planning to use, faecal immunochemical tests for haemoglobin (FIT) in bowel cancer screening programmes, there was some disturbing news last week. In British Columbia (BC), Canada, use of FIT ceased due to a problem with a reagent used in analysis of the samples. On the official website, it is stated that work to resolve this as quickly as possible is underway and the organisers will have a better idea of timing in the next few weeks: however, it could take a number of months for FIT analyses to resume. The details and consequences are very well documented.
On the 7th June 2016, the Westminster Government approved the recommendation of the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) to replace the current test used in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BSCP) in England with a newer test, the Faecal Immunochemical Test for haemoglobin (FIT). The Scottish Government had already announced the change from the traditional guaiac-based faecal occult blood test (gFOBT) to FIT on 18th February 2015. The rationale for these advances have been very well documented, as have the many advantages of FIT over gFOBT.
As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, we’re running a series of mini-blogs from cancer experts. Here’s the next instalment from the Detect Cancer Early team.
I would like the public to know…they’re not alone.
The bowel screening test is completed in the comfort of your own home. It’s therefore no surprise that many people feel like they’re the only one that’s asked to do it.
As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, we’re running a series of mini-blogs from cancer experts. Here’s the next instalment from Bowel Cancer Nurse Specialist, Aileen Roy.
I should like the public aged over 50, to do the test, and help prevent cancer. If found early cancer is more likely to be curable. The bowel screening test can be done in the comfort of your home bathroom.
A positive test does not mean you have bowel cancer.
As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, we’re running a series of mini-blogs from bowel screening experts from the University of Dundee’s Centre for Research into Cancer Prevention and Screening. Here’s the first instalment, from Professor Bob Steele.
I should like the public to be much more aware that bowel cancer in its early stages is often completely curable, and usually does not require chemotherapy.
As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, we’re running a series of mini-blogs from bowel screening experts from the University of Dundee’s Centre for Research into Cancer Prevention and Screening. Here’s the first instalment, from Professor Callum G. Fraser.
I would like the wider public to be made much more aware of faecal immunochemical tests for haemoglobin (FIT). FIT, which are easy for patients with symptoms to do using single-sample hygienic collection devices, provide inexpensive means to decide whether they have serious colorectal disease or not.
One of the fundamental principles underpinning the establishment of bowel cancer screening programmes for people with no symptoms is that early disease is detected. Treatment is then more effective, cure is often complete and survival is much enhanced. Significant evidence supports this thesis. It has been widely shown that more than half of all bowel cancers detected through screening programmes are early stage.
The media continues to draw considerable attention to individual cases where screening has either been unavailable (e.g. young people with colorectal cancer) or unsuccessful (e.g. cases of colorectal cancer occurring where the screening test has been negative). In addition, there are constant pleas, requests and demands from a number of high-profile individuals and the many charities involved in screening to both broaden the spectrum of programmes available and expand the age range of those invited to participate in currently available programmes.