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Chew MH, Suzanah N, Ho KS, Lim JF, Ooi BS, Tang CL, Eu KW
Correspondence: Prof Kong Weng Eu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality with human and financial costs. Screening by faecal occult blood test (FOBT) has proven to be effective in decreasing mortality from CRC in both randomised trials and case-control studies. We report on the results of a CRC screening event using quantitative FOBT (QFOBT) held in Singapore.
Methods The mass screening event was held over two days, and participants 40 years or older without prior screening performed in the preceding year were eligible. Those with significant symptoms or medical comorbidities were excluded. Stool sampling was done with two issued immunochemical QFOBT kits, and participants with positive stool samples with equal or greater than 100 ng haemoglobin/ml sample solution in any two samples were advised to have a colonoscopy screening conducted.
Results A total of 1,048 participants took part in the screening event. 222 (21 percent) of the participants claimed to have some abdominal symptoms prior to screening. 49 participants (26 males, 23 females) tested positive for QFOBT and 47 were evaluated. 10 (21 percent) had polyps and one case of colorectal cancer was detected. Seven of these cases had significant neoplasia (lesions 1 cm or larger) and were treated. Two patients required surgery.
Conclusion Our study demonstrates wide variation in the attitudes of participants who turned up for screening. In addition, the number of significant colorectal neoplasia patients (14 percent) in those with positive QFOBT provides further evidence of the importance of screening with a potential reduction in CRC mortality. Continuous education of the public in events such as this, is essential to improving attitudes towards screening.
Keywords: cancer screening, colorectal cancer, faecal occult blood test, quantitative faecal occult blood test
Singapore Med J 2009; 50(4): 348-353