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FIT Availability

Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is again available in BC.

Fecal immunochemical testing, or FIT, part of the early screening process for colon cancer, has resumed following a temporary suspension. Testing was suspended in October 2017 after a manufacturer problem was identified with the liquid solution, also known as a reagent, used to test the FIT samples. 

Laboratory providers worked closely with the manufacturer to resolve the quality control concerns with the reagent. New batches of reagent have been approved for use following an extensive testing and quality assurance process. Laboratory providers have also set up additional quality checks to monitor test performance to prevent similar problems in the future. 

The Colon Screening Program along with laboratory providers and health authority partners have a coordinated plan to notify patients about the resumption of testing, first addressing those patients for whom testing was delayed.

Your Questions

FIT testing is again available. Eligible patients can pick up FIT kits from any public or private lab across the province with a referral from their health care provider.

On October 3, 2017, all laboratory providers in BC suspended Fecal Occult Blood testing using the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) due to a manufacturer reagent (liquid solution) problem.

Reagent is a liquid solution that is used in the testing of FIT samples.  It is added to the test sample and causes a reaction which helps indicates if the sample is positive or negative for blood and indicates if further testing is required. E.g. colonoscopy.

‎Laboratory providers worked closely with the manufacturer to resolve problems related to the reagent and new batches of reagent have been approved for use following extensive testing and quality assurance process.  

Laboratory providers set up additional quality checks to monitor test performance within their labs. Existing quality checks at BC Cancer that assisted identification of the problem will also continue.


People who have FIT requisitions from their health care provider can bring their requisition to the laboratory to receive their FIT kit.‎

‎If you have not received the result of your test, it is likely that the laboratory was not able to perform the test on your sample. Patients who completed a FIT previously but did not receive their result due to the FIT suspension will be contacted by their laboratory provider. Each laboratory will determine the most appropriate approach for contacting these patients. 

If you have an unused and unopened FIT, check the expiry date on the FIT kit to ensure it has not expired.  If the date is good, then complete the test and drop off your sample at the laboratory.

If the kit has expired, please contact your health care provider to receive a requisition for a new FIT kit.  The expiration date is located on the FIT kit label beside the LOT number.  Expired kits should be returned to your laboratory for proper disposal.


Patients who visited their laboratory for testing but were unable to pick up a FIT kit due to the FIT suspension will be contacted by their laboratory provider. Each laboratory will determine the most appropriate approach for contacting patients. If not contacted by the end of January 2018, check with the laboratory to see if they have your requisition on file or contact your health care provider for further details.‎

‎As we reinstate screening there may be modest delays in providing FIT results given the increased volume during the initial re-introduction of the test.  Patients can expect to receive their test results within approximately two weeks after dropping off your sample. 

FIT testing is available province-wide. Eligible patients can pick up FIT kits from any public or private laboratory across the province with a referral from their health care provider.

Health care providers are encouraged to promote colon screening to asymptomatic patients:

  • Women and men ages 50-74 should screen using the FIT.
  • Women and men ages 50-74 with a significant family history of colon cancer or a personal history of adenoma(s) should be referred for a screening colonoscopy.
  • Learn more about the colon screening program details and eligibility guidelines.


See your provider to get a laboratory requisition for FIT. The Colon Screening Program will begin to mail recall notices to patients who are due for re-screening.

‎You should continue to follow the steps mentioned in your result letter. As mentioned in that letter, a positive result means blood has been found in your stool; it doesn't necessarily mean you have cancer. Your health authority will contact you to discuss your next steps including referral for colonoscopy.

‎If you receive a negative result letter (no blood found in your stool) you do not need follow-up at this time. The program will mail you a reminder notification when it's time for you to re-screen.

‎Health authorities are responsible for the service delivery of colonoscopies and can provide information on current wait times.

Colonoscopies are provided for various reasons, including some reasons not related to cancer screening. Health authorities are responsible for the service delivery of colonoscopies and prioritise screening and non-screening colonoscopies based on their own circumstances.


‎It is estimated that approximately 60,000 to 80,000 people had deferred screening during the 11-week suspension period.

Screening is for people who are not experiencing symptoms of colon cancer. People who have concerns are encouraged to discuss with their doctor to determine what needs to be done.    

Talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening (through colonoscopy) if you have at least one of the following:

  • One first degree relative (mother, father, sister, brother, daughter or son) with colon cancer diagnosed under the age of 60; or,
  • Two or more first degree relatives with colon cancer diagnosed at any age; or,
  • A personal history of adenomas.

Speak to your primary care provider if you are experiencing symptoms, such as blood in your stool, abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, or weight loss. Your health care provider will advise you about the diagnostic testing that can determine the cause of these symptoms. 

BC Cancer values and relies on the partnership with primary care providers, health authorities and labs to deliver the Colon Screening Program: BC Cancer's Colon Screening Program:

  • develops provincial policies and program standards for screening
  • notifies patients of FIT results  (normal or notification for further follow up)
  • recalls patients for re-screening or surveillance
  • facilitates referrals to health authorities for patients who need pre-colonoscopy assessment
  • monitors screening program performance and outcomes
Regional health authorities plan for capacity and deliver services for pre-colonoscopy assessment, colonoscopy and pathology.

Primary care providers identify eligible patients for screening and ordering fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) or referring high risk patients for colonoscopy.

Public and private laboratories within health authorities across BC are responsible for provide FIT kits to patients, and analyze and report FIT results to physicians, nurse practitioners and the screening program.

 
An abnormal result does NOT mean that you have cancer. However, it is very important to attend follow-up tests to determine the reason for the abnormal result.

If you a have an abnormal result your doctor will make recommendations for follow-up testing. Usually colonoscopy is recommended. This is a common procedure that allows a specialist to look at the inside of the colon and rectum to make a diagnosis. For more information on results, click here. For more information on what it means to have an abnormal FIT result, watch the video below.







 

SOURCE: FIT Availability ( )
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