27 February 2019 Blog Post: "FIT" or Immunochemical Test

Patients 45 years and older coming in for their annual examinations may have noticed an increased emphasis on colon and rectal cancer screening through the “FIT” or Fecal immunochemical test. This “poop test” or “poop kit” – FIT detects blood in your stool which can be a sign of pre-cancer.
 
Generally in my discussions, I refer to it as an “adjunct” to colonoscopy which is our traditional gold standard for colon and rectal cancer screening. However, a new study suggests that FIT testing should no longer be considered an secondary testing strategy.
 
A meta-analysis combining 31 published studies published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine has shown outstanding performance of this test in the detection of colorectal cancer. FITs had a sensitivity (the ability of a test to correctly identify those with the disease) of 91%. Its specificity (the ability of the test to correctly identify those without the disease) ranged from 90% to 95%.
 
An editorialist called for “better education to inform patients and physicians that regular screening with FITs is not a ‘second-best’ strategy or less than a ‘gold standard’ strategy for average-risk persons.”
 
Consider this physician informed.

𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗨𝗽 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿

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