Every year many people experience bowel symptoms (such as changes in bowel habit and bleeding from the back passage) and are referred to hospital, by their GP, for investigations to identify the cause of the symptoms and rule out bowel cancer. Most people who go for these investigations will not have bowel cancer.
Developing new tools and pathways to ensure that those most at risk of bowel cancer are seen quickly, whilst preventing an overwhelm of NHS services and putting low-risk patients through unnecessary investigations, is vital. One way to do this is to use a FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Testing) test for patients who go to their GP with bowel symptoms, to guide the GP's decision about whether, or not, that patient needs an investigation. The FIT test looks for traces of blood in the stool (poo), using the same type of ‘poo card test’ that is already used in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.
COLOFIT will calculate 'risk scores' for patients with bowel cancer symptoms, to identify which patients should be prioritised for hospital investigations, due to the fact that they are at greater risk of having bowel cancer. During the study we will also talk to patients and health care professionals to understand their experiences of using 'FIT' in real life. We will also calculate the costs of this new approach to testing and referral.
This research will allow those at highest risk of bowel cancer to be investigated promptly, reduce the need for unpleasant investigations for patients who don’t need them, and reduce burden on NHS services.
- Professor Colin Rees - Co-Chief Investigator
- Professor Willie Hamilton - Co-Chief Investigator
- NIHR HTA Commissioned Call on Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) based tools to triage in primary care
For any other queries about COLOFIT please contact [email protected]