11th February 2019

New test to help improve early cancer detection

A new simple test, which will help detect hidden quantities of blood in a stool sample which can be an indication of bowel cancer, improving early cancer detection, is being used by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust as part of the colorectal cancer pathway.

Some of the Colorectal team with Mr Raj Harshen, Consultant General and Colorectal Surgery holding the new Faecal Immunochemical Test kit

Some of the Colorectal team with Mr Raj Harshen, Consultant General and Colorectal Surgery holding the new Faecal Immunochemical Test kit

This new Faecal Immunochemical Test is given to a patient at a GP examination. It detects the presence and quantity of human blood in a stool by measuring for a particular antibody. This extremely sensitive test offers a result within 48 hours, and means patients can be prioritised for an urgent investigation, speeding up the detection and treatment of bowel cancer.

Mr Raj Harshen, Consultant General and Colorectal Surgery said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this new test for our patients as part of the colorectal cancer pathway. It will revolutionise the way bowel cancer is detected, and lead to earlier diagnosis and faster treatment.”

The benefits of using this new Faecal Immunochemical Test to support an enhanced pathway for colorectal patients are:

  • A reduction in the number of patients undergoing unnecessary colonoscopies with the associated risks and stress
  • Patients will get their Faecal Immunochemical Test result within days, meaning the majority of patients will be advised that their risk of colon cancer is low, soon after their GP appointment, with appropriate sign-posting for the management of ongoing symptoms
  • Patients who do have cancer will have their diagnosis more quickly and will be able to start treatment sooner
  • An improved performance on the Trust’s 62 day cancer wait target