Colorectal (bowel) Cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. It effects both men and women with the estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with bowel cancer being 1 in 15 men and 1 in 19 women. Mainly effecting older people, 94% of new cases are diagnoses in people over the age of 50.
More than 90% of colorectal cancer cases are treatable and curable if detected early, but still there are more than 15,000 deaths per year. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK accounting for 10% of all cancer deaths. (Statistics from Cancer Research UK and Bowel Cancer UK)
Early detection of colorectal cancer, cancerous lesions or advanced adenomas is critical in order to administer treatment and significantly improve patient prognosis.
The purpose of FIT is to identify patients who may have adverse bowel pathology indicating a risk of having or developing colorectal cancer. In the case of diseases that involve haemorrhagic lesions in the gut, such as intestinal tumours or their precursors, the quantity of haemoglobin in stool is increased. Therefore determining the quantity of haemoglobin in the stool represents and effective screening method for the early detection of colorectal cancer.