Publish date: 1 December 2023

A home test kit which can help to diagnose bowel cancer is the subject of a new patient-friendly video created by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance.

The short video focuses on the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) which detects invisible traces of blood in poo, that can indicate bowel cancer.

Traces of blood in poo can be caused by other medical conditions and does not necessarily mean cancer. But if it is cancer, finding it at an early stage means treatment is more likely to work.

The video features patient Bob Rolfe and Hazel Rodger, Professional and Clinical Lead Nursing and AHP at West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance, chatting after Bob was asked by his GP to undertake a test with a FIT kit.

Bob and Hazel talk through the process with the aim of highlighting the importance of doing the test if asked and how it should be done to ensure the sample can produce an accurate result.

“We wanted to highlight the importance of doing the FIT test if asked by your GP because it’s a very valuable tool in determining if you have bowel cancer,” said Hazel.

“We have been hearing anecdotally from partners in West Yorkshire that patients could benefit from extra guidance on how to do the test, as it can seem daunting.

“For example some tests have contained too much or too little poo sample on the stick, or the patient’s details have been filled in incorrectly on the test pack so they can’t be identified.

“So, we’ve produced this video which we hope people will find useful and will enable GPs to signpost their patients to it.”

FIT kits are often given to patients suffering with bowel problems by their GP, as well as being part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BCSP).

Dr Helena Rolfe, Clinical Director at West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance, said: “As a cancer alliance, we have a responsibility to help transform the diagnosis, treatment and care for patients in our local area.

“As part of this we are very keen to encourage early diagnosis of cancers such as bowel cancer and the new FIT plays an important role in this.

“Our video helps to explain how simple and easy the FIT kit is to complete and will hopefully break any taboos around it.

“It builds on a larger piece of work that we are currently delivering on rolling out the new West Yorkshire and Harrogate FIT pathway which also includes an education video for clinicians.”

Watch the FIT video here