Skip to main content
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine (WIPM)

New test shows major increase in bowel cancer screening uptake

news image

Research led by CCP's Professor Sue Moss and the Bowel Cancer Screening Hubs has shown a markedly increased participation in a bowel cancer screening pilot study in England using a faecal immunochemical test for haemoglobin (FIT).


Data was presented in the prize-winning poster at the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI) Conference, hosted by Cancer Research UK on 27-28 March 2015, which demonstrated that the uptake of screening with FIT was significantly greater than that for the currently used guaiac-based faecal occult blood test (gFOBt).

The FIT Study

In April 2014 The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BSCP) commenced a six-month FIT pilot to assess the implications of adopting FIT in England.

Two of the five regional BSCP Hubs and associated Screening Centres participated in the pilot study.  A total of 39,460 subjects were sent a FIT and 1,067,120 a gFOBt during the pilot period.  The FIT test only required one stool sample while three are required for gFOBt.

The results showed almost double the uptake with FIT than with gFOBt for previous non-responders (up from 14.5% to 26.6%).

There was an increase in participation for those invited for the first time, from 50.2% to 61.5% and also for those who had participated previously (from 86.6% to 91.1%).

Of particular note is the increase in uptake in the traditionally 'hard to reach' deprived population, which was up from 46.9% to 55.1%.

The interval between sending a kit and achieving a definite screening test result was shorter with FIT.

The authors concluded that several factors may have encouraged particpation; the design and ease-of-use of the FIT sample collection tube, only one faecal sample being required, the simple FIT Pilot mail package.

Professor Moss said:


These results are extremely encouraging not only because of the overall increase in participation, but because the increase was observed across all socio economic groups.

Media Coverage

Cancer Research UK Press Release

OnMedica - New test prompts rise in bowel screening uptake

Nursing Times - New test could increase participation in bowel cancer screening