Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Suspected cancer in adults

Use of faecal occult blood tests in symptomatic patients

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 11 August 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4256
  1. Robert Steele, president1,
  2. Ian Forgacs, president2,
  3. Gwyn McCreanor, president3,
  4. Sally Benton, director4,
  5. Michael Machesney, chair5,
  6. Colin Rees, vice president (chair of endoscopy)2,
  7. Stephen P Halloran, member, bowel screening advisory committee6,
  8. Muti Abulafi, chair7,
  9. Deborah Alsina, chief executive8
  1. 1Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, London WC2A 3PE, UK
  2. 2British Society of Gastroenterology, London, UK
  3. 3Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine, London
  4. 4NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Southern Programme Hub, Royal Surrey County Hospital, Surrey Research Park, Guildford, UK
  5. 5Colorectal Cancer Clinical Reference Group, NHS England, c/o Bowel Cancer UK (Secretariat), London
  6. 6Public Health England (Secretariat), London, UK
  7. 7Colorectal Cancer Pathway Group, London Cancer Alliance, London
  8. 8Bowel Cancer UK, London
  1. r.j.c.steele{at}

Despite serious reservations expressed during consultation, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently issued referral guidance for suspected colorectal cancer in which faecal occult blood testing (FOBT) is recommended for certain low risk symptomatic patients.1 2 We believe that this will lead to false reassurance and delayed investigations. We should like to point out that:

  • 1. The guidance is particularly worrying for people under …

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