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Faecal immunochemical tests (FIT) are used to detect small amounts of blood in stool samples using antibodies specific to human haemoglobin.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) ranks third among the most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide.It is proven that population screening for CRC reduces disease-specific incidence and mortality. Most CRCs develop from a preclinical precursor, the adenoma. The progression from early adenoma to invasive cancer takes years. The high incidence, long preclinical phase, recognisable and treatable precursor, the high cost of treatment, and the correlation of mortality with disease stage make CRC highly suitable for population screening.
The superior analytical and clinical performance characteristics of FIT, compared to other Faecal Occult Blood Tests (FOBT), makes FIT a better choice for population screening. Quantitative FIT provide the concentration of hemoglobin in faeces and studies have consistently shown that this concentration is related to both detection rate and to the severity of the lesion.
Quantitative FIT provide consistently high-quality, automated measurements using high performance analytical systems that let users select the preferred faecal hemoglobin cut-off concentration. Quantitative FIT therefore makes it possible for developers of screening programmes to select an acceptable sensitivity/specificity balance and to ensure that colonoscopic referral rates can be met by local circumstances.