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Cancer Testing At Home Supported

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Cancer Testing At Home Supported

(CTN News) – The use of at-home fecal immunochemical tests for detecting bowel cancer could reduce the frequency of colonoscopies for some individuals at an above-average risk.

A recent study found that there is a low risk of advanced tumors following multiple negative tests.

Due to the risks, costs, and burden on the health care system from surveillance colonoscopies for bowel cancer, it is critical to explore how we can further personalize screening intervals, according to study lead author Dr. Molla Wassie, a Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute Emerging Leadership Fellow.

Depending on family history and prior colonoscopy results, individuals at high risk are advised to undergo surveillance colonoscopies every one to five years.

Fecal immunochemical tests can be used to identify those individuals who may benefit from extended surveillance intervals.”

SCOOP, an SA-based bowel cancer surveillance program, was used in a retrospective study of over 3,300 individuals enrolled in the Southern Cooperative Program for the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer (SCOOP) published as a pre-print in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Study participants had no evidence of bowel cancer at their previous colonoscopy. They were advised to have another in three to five years, as well as to undergo a fecal immunochemical test annually.

Following a negative FIT, Dr. Wassie found that the risk of a follow-up colonoscopy detecting advanced neoplastic lesions, including cancer, decreased significantly with each subsequent negative result, with the risk of only 5.7% after four negative tests.

This supports the use of fecal immunochemical tests to further personalize an individual’s cancer surveillance interval and reduce the overall frequency of colonoscopies.

Likewise with any surgical procedure, a colonoscopy carries risks for the patient, as it is an invasive procedure.

As a result of access issues, costs, and the burden it places on our already strained healthcare system, Dr. Wassie emphasizes that there is a significant need to ensure current recommendations are adequate.

As part of colonoscopy surveillance programs in Australia, intervals of up to 10 years between colonoscopies have been proposed as a suitable timeframe for cancer surveillance after low-risk findings.

The results of our study support the implementation of annual fecal immunochemical tests at home as part of surveillance programs.

However, as with any surveillance program, uptake and adherence to the surveillance schedule will be integral to the success of the program.

A paper titled, “Multiple negative fecal immunochemical tests reduce the risk of advanced neoplasia in a colonoscopy surveillance program,” will be published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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