FIT stands for (Quantitive) Faecal Immunochemical Test. A detailed explanation of what FIT is, which patients it is aimed at, and the relevant guidelines, are available on our FIT testing web pages. But in brief, FIT detects hidden or ‘occult’ blood in stool samples. FIT uses antibodies that specifically recognise human haemoglobin, so there is no need for patients to undergo dietary restriction prior to using the test, unlike the old (FOB) tests.
FIT is used in many screening programmes worldwide, because it can detect more cancers, particularly advanced adenomas (premalignant adenomas). There are fewer false positives and it is a sensitive enough test to assess patients who are at low risk of developing colorectal cancer.
We have been developing a range of educational and informative resources for both health professionals and patients, to be used in association with FIT, around the East of England region.
These resources include a short introductory video clip for clinicians, which introduces FIT and covers: what the test is, why it is important for patients to return it as per instructions, who it is most appropriate for, what GPs should tell patients, how it forms part of the primary care consultation process, what safety netting is in place for patients with unreturned tests, and what resources are available for clinicians.(This is provided below).
Dr Deepak Kumar, a clinician in the East of England, introduces the FIT test for clinicians. This video can be accessed here or via our Youtube channel.
We would appreciate your support in sharing this video with clinicians across the region.
There is also an animation video available for patients, to assist them in completing the test properly to ensure a smooth referral process, it also covers what not to do/mistakes to avoid. A significant number of tests have been rejected in the past, so ensuring they are completed properly and in a timely manner can make a notable difference to a patient's treatment pathway. (Photos from the animation and the animation itself are provided below).
Please share this animation with patients across the East of England region, to encourage them to return FIT as requested by their GP practice.
The animation is also available on our Youtube channel, to download or refer to at the following link: https://youtu.be/CtKlGplJ7EY
We will also be making a longer educational video available for clinicians, this will be an accredited video with guidance from clinicians around the region.
Leaflets are being made available on FIT testing that can be used around the East of England region, these will be provided below and are also being translated into a number of different languages.
A joint guideline from the Association of Coloproctology of GB and Ireland and the British Society of Gastroenterology was recently published regarding the use of FIT in patients with signs or symptoms of suspected colorectal cancer, this is available on the BSG site and at this link.
This guideline was drawn up using NICE endorsed processes with involvement of primary and secondary care clinicians. It summarises the current evidence base and makes recommendations for the use of FIT in symptomatic patients aged 18 years and older. The guideline has been carefully considered by both the East of England Cancer Alliances Colorectal Network Clinical Group and Primary care Group, and we are happy to both endorse the new guideline and promote its adoption throughout the region