Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First



Improving Referral for Colonoscopy

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.

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Bowel Cancer Awareness Month – Patients with Symptoms Should Get FIT

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.

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Papers of the Year: Suspected Cancer – Recognition and Referral

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

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Making Sense of Screening

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.

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Investigating Bowel Symptoms – Remember the Rule of Sixths


The many charities involved in increasing public awareness of bowel cancer achieve excellent results. The symptoms of bowel cancer are documented in simple terms, such as: bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo, a change in bowel habit lasting for three weeks or more, unexplained weight loss or extreme tiredness for no obvious reason and severe abdominal pain. They also suggest that, if concerned about such symptoms, an appointment should be made with the GP. They, and the “Detect Cancer Early” and “Be Clear on Cancer” campaigns, emphasise that getting checked is not a waste of time, particularly because the earlier a bowel cancer is detected, the better the outcome.

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Faecal Tests for Blood – Think FIT, not FOB!

Most cancers are detected or suspected in primary care after consultation with a GP. NICE published “Referral guidelines for suspected cancer” (CG27) in 2005. There have been many advances in the last decade and NICE prepared a document on “Suspected cancer: recognition and management of suspected cancer in children, young people and adults” in November 2014. This has been out for consultation and is expected in May 2015.

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