Bowel Cancer Screening

Alpha Laboratories has been at the forefront of faecal testing in the UK for over 20 years.

This was initially as the market leader for guaiac based faecal occult blood testing. We won tenders for bowel screening in all four UK countries, as each launched its own screening programme.

Continuing to provide leading edge products, Alpha Laboratories introduced the first faecal immunochemical testing (FIT) method for screening, initially being awarded the contract for quantitative FIT as the front line test in the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme. Tender wins for FIT screening in Wales and Northern Ireland followed.

Early Identification of Bowel Disease Improves Patient Outcomes

  • Around 16,000 people in the UK die of bowel cancer every year, making it the second biggest cancer killer.

  • It is the fourth most common cancer in the UK with around 41,000 people diagnosed annually.

  • The majority (95%) of bowel cancer cases occur in people over 50, but it can affect anyone of any age.

  • The lifetime risk of developing bowel cancer is 1 in 14 for men and 1 in 19 for women.

Studies suggest that over 90% of bowel cancer patients would survive if they were identified and treated in the early stages of the disease. Many cancers start as small growths on the lining of the gut called “Polyps”. The formation of these polyps becomes more common as we get older, and not all polyps will develop into cancerous growths. Patients who have developed polyps can be identified as these tend to bleed into the gut and this blood can be found in the faeces. The polyps, if potentially cancerous, can easily be removed during a colonoscopy.

FIT for Bowel Cancer Screening: The Benefits

  • Detects intact haemoglobin and early degradation products using monoclonal/polyclonal antibodies to globin

  • Greater clinical sensitivity

  • Detects more adenomas

  • Easier to collect the faecal sample using a method that is more acceptable to people invited for screening, promoting increased uptake

  • No diet or drug interferences

  • More specific for lower GI bleeding

  • Easier analysis using a single sample tested on automated systems

  • Advocated in many publications and most new guidelines

  • Users can select cut off for age, gender, colonoscopy resources

Visit the dedicated Faecal Immunochemical Test website