B.C. Cancer Agency suspends early colon cancer screening test

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      A routine screening test for one of the more common forms of cancer has been temporarily suspended in B.C.

      The fecal immunochemical testing, or FIT, is not being offered after a "manufacturer problem" was found with the liquid solution used to test samples, according to the B.C. Cancer Agency.

      “Patient safety and quality of care are our top priorities,” Dr. John Spinelli, vice president of population oncology at the B.C. Cancer Agency, said in a news release. “We’re exercising an abundance of caution to ensure that British Columbians receive a screening test that performs as expected.”

      The test is recommended for men and women between 50 and 74 years old.

      The B.C. Cancer Agency news release states that it detects blood in the stool. This can be an early sign of colon cancer and those with abnormal results often receive a colonoscopy.

      “Patients with a family history of colon cancer or with symptoms that may indicate cancer will not be affected by this test suspension,” Spinelli stated. “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.”

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