The U.S. Multi-Society Task Force, a group comprised of the major U.S. gastroenterological professional associations, recently released a consensus statement on the use of the noninvasive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) for colorectal cancer screening in average risk populations. A group of colorectal cancer experts say their statement offers strong evidence for FIT as an excellent alternative for colorectal cancer prevention and, as such, should be promoted with the same enthusiasm as colonoscopy. Their commentary is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Colonoscopy accounts for 60 percent of all colorectal cancer screening in the U.S., despite its greater expense and risk of complications compared with other options. In addition, unlike fecal occult blood testing or flexible sigmoidoscopy, no controlled studies have shown that colonoscopy reduces colorectal cancer incidence or mortality. Still, given the preference for colonoscopy screening in the U.S., strong evidence would be required to shift this norm. While clinicians await the results of trials comparing colonoscopy with stool blood-based screening methods, the authors point to several characteristics that make FIT a more attractive primary screening method.