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
We are delighted that our Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood as provided us with some thoughtful reading and indeed future horizons which cover both screening and prevention.
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.
At 50, my youngest daughter made me call the local breast screening centre to ask if I had missed a letter inviting me to attend. She said “the late birthday card from the bowel cancer unit came within weeks of turning 50…” Happily the screening centre staff offered to give me an appointment but said I hadn’t missed an invitation, it was just that my GP area wasn’t being called in at that point in time. I went, got an all clear and had one happy daughter.
Once again we are nearing the end of the year, and here at the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network, we’ve invited our members, colleagues and regular SCPN Newsletter contributors to recommend what they have been reading on cancer prevention during 2016. We’ve asked each of them to recommend one paper which they thought would be valuable to share. This week our second instalment comes to us courtesy of Prof James Garden of Edinburgh University, we hope you enjoy.
Title: Pancreatic Cancer
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 cancer experts. Here’s the next instalment from Professor Annie S. Anderson.
I would like the public to know that getting bowel cancer is not about bad luck and fate.