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Tan WS, Tang CL, Koo WH
Correspondence: A/Prof Choong Leong Tang, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction The use of faecal immunochemical occult blood test (FIT) has been reported to decrease mortality from colorectal cancer. The Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) gives out FIT kits to encourage opportunistic screening of colorectal cancer. Any Singapore citizen or permanent resident aged ≥ 50 years is eligible to receive two FIT kits. Participants with at least one positive FIT are referred for further evaluation. We aimed to analyse the results of SCS data from the year 2008.
Methods The factors evaluated included compliance, positive test rate (PR) and positive predictive value (PPV) of FIT.
Results 20,989 participants received 41,978 kits in 2008. Compliance was 38.9%, with 8,156 participants returning at least one kit. 8% of participants tested positive, and 75% of these test-positive participants agreed to undergo further investigations. 33 participants had colorectal cancers, 45 had advanced polyps (≥ 1 cm) and 90 had polyps < 1 cm. Histologically, 114 polyps were adenomatous, 20 were hyperplastic and 1 was serrated. PPV of colorectal neoplasia for those who underwent further colonoscopy was 34%. Over half of the participants who had only one positive test had colorectal neoplasia.
Conclusion PR and PPV of FIT in our study were comparable to that in the literature. However, compliance was low and a quarter of all participants who tested positive refused further investigations. Extensive population education programmes are required to improve compliance and tackle inhibitions among the masses. It is also important to take steps to enhance the cost effectiveness of future screening programmes.
Keywords:colorectal cancer, faecal occult blood test, screening
Singapore Med J 2013; 54(4): 220-223; http://dx.doi.org/10.11622/smedj.2013077
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