Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Screening for colorectal cancer

Interval bowel cancers may not be detected on faecal occult blood testing

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 03 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2390
  1. Anil Thomas George, specialist registrar1,
  2. Smeer Aggarwal, registrar1,
  3. Andrew Fields, data analyst2,
  4. Mike Vogler, centre manager2,
  5. Achyuth Menon, consultant surgeon1,
  6. Mukul Dube, consultant surgeon1
  1. 1Sherwood Hospital NHS Trust, Mansfield, UK
  2. 2Bowel Cancer Screening Eastern Hub, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  1. anilsola{at}

We report a high incidence of interval colorectal cancers that were not detected by the biennial faecal occult blood (FOB) screening test and highlight that a negative test result can falsely reassure patients and clinicians.1

We identified this problem after analysing data from the National Bowel Cancer Audit programme from a single centre catchment area (22 021 eligible patients) in the FOB testing age group (60-70 years) …

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