Around 50% of individuals with colorectal cancer (CRC) initially present with non-alarm symptoms.
We investigated the value of using the faecal immunochemical test (FIT) in the diagnostic process of CRC and other serious bowel disease in individuals presenting with non-alarm symptoms in general practice. The study was conducted in the Central Denmark Region from 1 September 2015 to 30 August 2016. The FIT was used as a rule-in test on patients aged ≥30 years with non-alarm symptomsof CRC. The cut-off value was set to 10 µg Hb/g faeces.
A total of 3462 valid FITs were performed. Of these, 540 (15.6%) were positive. Three months after FIT performance, 51 (PPV: 9.4% (95% CI: 7.0;11.9)) individuals with a positive FIT were diagnosed with CRC and 73 (PPV: 13.5% (95%CI: 10.6;16.4)) with other serious bowel disease. Of CRCs, 66.7% were diagnosed in UICC stage I & II and 19.6% in stage IV. The false negative rate for CRC was <0.1% for the initial 3 months after FIT performance.
The FIT may be used as a supplementary diagnostic test in the diagnostic process of CRC and other serious bowel disease in individuals with non-alarm symptoms of CRC in general practice.