Fecal immunochemical testing, or FIT, part of the early screening process for colon cancer, has been suspended temporarily for BC residents to ensure tests meet performance standards.
Lab providers have put the testing on hold identifying a manufacturer problem with the liquid solution used to test the FIT samples, also known as a reagent.
FIT is a routine screening test recommended for men and women between the ages of 50 and 74 that detects blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of colon cancer.
Patients with abnormal test results are referred for a follow-up colonoscopy.
Dr. John Spinelli, vice-president of population oncology at BC Cancer Agency says they are exercising an abundance of caution to ensure that British Columbians receive a screening test that performs as expected.
“Patients with a family history of colon cancer or with symptoms that may indicate cancer will not be affected by this test suspension,” said Spinelli. “FIT is designed for people considered at average risk of colon cancer. If you are at high risk of colon cancer due to a strong family history or personal history of adenomas, your doctor can still refer you to the Colon Screening Program for colonoscopy. If you are experiencing symptoms, please speak with your primary care provider, who will work to ensure you get the care you need.”
Colonoscopy for patients who require it is still available province-wide.