Screening for colorectal cancer using the faecal occult blood test, Hemoccult (Review)

Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, United Kingdom
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 02/2007; 24(1):CD001216. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001216.pub2
Source: PubMed


Regular screening of faeces for blood can detect colorectal cancer earlier and hence may reduce mortality in populations at risk, such as older patients. The screening test used in these trials to detect colorectal (bowel) cancer was the faecal occult blood test (FOBT). If the FOBT is positive, the bowels are examined closely with further diagnostic test (coloscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema), but these tests often cause discomfort and can cause serious adverse consequences. As blood identified in faeces may be due to several reason (unrelated to cancer), it may cause people unnecessary stress and expose them to possible harm. This review found that FOBT screening is likely to avoid approximately 1 in 6 colorectal cancer deaths.

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    • "Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second largest cause of cancer death in the UK (16,000 deaths per year) (NHS, 2013) and in 2011 was the third most common cancer in men (23,171 cases) and women (18,410 cases) (Cancer Research UK, 2014). Early detection through screening has been shown to be cost-effective (Tappenden et al., 2007) and effective in reducing CRC mortality (Hewitson et al., 2007; Schoen et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second largest cause of cancer death in the UK. Since 2010, CRC screening based on Faecal Occult Blood testing has been offered by the NHS in England biennially to all persons age 60 to 69 years. Several studies have demonstrated a gradient in uptake using area-level markers of socio-economic status (SES), but few have examined the individual-level contributors to the gradient. We aimed to quantify the extent of SES inequality in CRC screening uptake in England using individual-level data, and to identify individual factors associated with this inequality. We used data from 1,833 participants (aged 61-69) in Wave 5 (collected in years 2010/11) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) eligible for having been sent at least one CRC screening invitation. Uptake was defined by self-report of ever having been screened as part of the National Screening Programme. We assessed socio-economic inequality using the corrected concentration index of uptake against SES rank, which was derived by regressing a range of SES markers against net non-pension household wealth. Other demographic and health-related variables were included in the analysis. Factors associated with inequality were measured using concentration index decomposition. There was a significant pro-rich gradient in screening uptake (concentration index: 0.16, 95% CI:0.11-0.22), mostly explained within our model by differences in non-pension wealth (38.7%), partner screening status (15.9%), sickness/disability (13.5%), and health literacy (8.5%). Interventions aimed at reducing inequalities in CRC screening uptake should focus on improving acceptability of screening in populations with low levels of education and literacy barriers.
    Social Science & Medicine (1967) 06/2015; 134. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.04.010
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    • "The reason for this relatively poor survival is the late presentation of advanced stage cancer, which reduces the chance of curative treatment (Gatta et al, 2000; Coleman et al, 2011). The principle of bowel cancer screening is to detect cancer at a pre-symptomatic stage, leading to earlier diagnosis and improved clinical outcome (Bernie et al, 1998; Hewitson et al, 2007). Screening also enables the detection and excision of adenomas, thereby reducing CRC risk. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Colorectal neoplasia causes bleeding, enabling detection using Faecal Occult Blood tests (FOBt). The National Health Service (NHS) Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BCSP) guaiac-based FOBt (gFOBt) kits contain six sample windows (or 'spots') and each kit returns either a positive, unclear or negative result. Test kits with five or six positive windows are termed 'abnormal' and the subject is referred for further investigation, usually colonoscopy. If 1-4 windows are positive, the result is initially 'unclear' and up to two further kits are submitted, further positivity leads to colonoscopy ('weak positive'). If no further blood is detected, the test is deemed 'normal' and subjects are tested again in 2 years' time. We studied the association between spot positivity % (SP%) and neoplasia. Methods: Subjects in the Southern Hub completing the first of two consecutive episodes between April 2009 and March 2011 were studied. Each episode included up to three kits and a maximum of 18 windows (spots). For each positivity combination, the percentage of positive spots out of the total number of spots completed by an individual in a single-screening episode was derived and named 'SP%'. Fifty-five combinations of SP can occur if the position of positive/negative spots on the same test card is ignored.The proportion of individuals for whom neoplasia was identified in Episode 2 was derived for each of the 55 spot combinations. In addition, the Episode 1 spot pattern was analysed for subjects with cancer detected in Episode 2. Results: During Episode 2, 284,261 subjects completed gFOBT screening and colonoscopies were performed on 3891 (1.4%) subjects. At colonoscopy, cancer was detected in 7.4% (n=286) and a further 39.8% (n=1550) had adenomas. Cancer was detected in 21.3% of subjects with an abnormal first kit (five or six positive spots) and in 5.9% of those with a weak positive test result.The proportion of cancers detected was positively correlated with SP%, with an R(2) correlation (linear) of 0.89. As the SP% increased from 11 to 100%, so the colorectal cancer (CRC) detection rate increased from 4 to 25%. At the lower SP%s, from 11to 25%, the CRC risk was relatively static at ~4%. Above an SP% of 25%, every 10-percentage points increase in the SP%, was associated with an increase in cancer detection of 2.5%. Conclusions: This study demonstrated a strong correlation between SP% and cancer detection within the NHS BCSP. At the population level, subjects' cancer risk ranged from 4 to 25% and correlated with the gFOBt spot pattern.Some subjects with an SP% of 11% proceed to colonoscopy, whereas others with an SP% of 22% do not. Colonoscopy on patients with four positive spots in kit 1 (SP% 22%) would, we estimate, detect cancer in ~4% of cases and increase overall colonoscopy volume by 6%. This study also demonstrated how screening programme data could be used to guide its ongoing implementation and inform other programmes.
    British Journal of Cancer 09/2014; 111(11). DOI:10.1038/bjc.2014.480 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    • "In another five topics in which a statistically significant benefit had been seen in one trial, other trials had also been performed. Cochrane reviews showed a statistically significant survival benefit for biannual fecal occult blood testing [20] but not for PSA screening [21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives To evaluate the effects of diagnostic testing on patient outcomes in a large sample of diagnostic randomized controlled trials (D-RCTs) and to examine whether the effects for patient outcomes correlate with the effects on management and with diagnostic accuracy. Study Design and Setting We considered D-RCTs that evaluated diagnostic interventions for any condition and reported effectiveness data on one or more patient outcomes. We calculated odds ratios for patient outcomes and outcomes pertaining to the use of further diagnostic and therapeutic interventions and the diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) for the accuracy of experimental tests. Results One hundred forty trials (153 comparisons) were eligible. Patient outcomes were significantly improved in 28 comparisons (18%). There was no concordance in significance and direction of effects between the patient outcome and outcomes for use of further diagnostic or therapeutic interventions (weighted κ 0.02 and 0.09, respectively). The effect size for the patient outcome did not correlate with the effect sizes for use of further diagnostic (r = 0.05; P = 0.78) or therapeutic interventions (r = 0.18; P = 0.08) or the experimental intervention DOR in the same trial (r = −0.24; P = 0.51). Conclusion Few tests have well-documented benefits on patient outcomes. Diagnostic performance or the effects on management decisions are not necessarily indicative of patient benefits.
    Journal of clinical epidemiology 06/2014; 67(6). DOI:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.12.008 · 3.42 Impact Factor
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