The Information Services Division Scotland recently published an update of the Scottish bowel screening for the period between May 2017 and April 2019, focusing on uptake, positivity and clinical outcomes. The faecal immunochemical test (FIT) was launched on 20 November 2017, replacing the older faecal occult blood test (FOBT).
Key findings from the report are as follows:
- The bowel screening increased from 56.2 per cent to 64.1 per cent, for comparable 18-month periods before and after the FIT was introduced. The national uptake rate had never attained the standard of 60 per cent before the introduction of the FIT.
- Although men have a lower screening uptake using FIT than women (61.8% vs 66.4%), the gap using FIT is smaller than that using FOBT (4.6 vs 6.3 percentage points).
- Screening uptake using FIT is lower among individuals from the most deprived areas (51.8%) versus those from the least deprived areas (72.9%). However, individuals from more deprived areas had the greatest increase in uptake after the introduction of FIT.
- The percentage of individuals who tested positive was greater using FIT. The percentage of individuals referred for further investigation rose from 2.2 per cent using FOBT to 3.0 per cent using FIT.
- The total number of individuals testing positive and subsequently being referred for further investigation was 70 per cent higher using FIT than using FOBT. Similarly, the number of individuals diagnosed with cancer was 34 per cent higher using FIT than using FOBT.