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Attitudes towards faecal immunochemical testing in patients at increased risk of colorectal cancer: an online survey of GPs in England

von Wagner, C; Stoffel, S; Freeman, M; Laszlo, H; Nicholson, BD; Sheringham, J; Szinay, D; (2018) Attitudes towards faecal immunochemical testing in patients at increased risk of colorectal cancer: an online survey of GPs in England. British Journal of General Practice , 68 (676) e757-e764. 10.3399/bjgp18X699413. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: There is increasing interest in using a quantitative faecal immunochemical test (FIT) to rule out colorectal cancer (CRC) in patients with high-risk symptoms in primary care. AIM: This study aimed to investigate GPs' attitudes and willingness to use a FIT over an urgent 2-week wait (2WW) referral. DESIGN AND SETTING: A cross-sectional online survey involving 1024 GPs working across England. METHOD: Logistic regression models were used to explore the likelihood of GPs using a FIT instead of a 2WW referral, and reported using odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). RESULTS: Just over one-third of GPs (n = 365) preferred to use a FIT as a rule-out test over a 2WW referral. GPs were more willing if they were: aged 36-45 years (OR 1.59 [95% CI = 1.04 to 2.44]); 46-55 years (OR 1.99 [95% CI = 1.14 to 3.47]); thought a FIT was highly accurate (OR 1.63 [95% CI = 1.16 to 2.29]); thought patients would benefit compared with having a colonoscopy (OR 2.02 [95% CI = 1.46 to 2.79]); and were highly confident about discussing the benefits of a FIT (OR 2.14 [95% CI = 1.46 to 3.16]). GPs were less willing if they had had >10 urgent referrals in the past year (OR 0.62 [95% CI = 0.40 to 0.94]) and thought that longer consultations would be needed (OR 0.61 [95% CI = 0.44 to 0.83]). CONCLUSION: The study findings suggest that the acceptability of using a FIT as a rule-out test in primary care is currently low, with less than half of GPs who perceived the test to be accurate preferring it over colonoscopy. Any potential guideline changes recommending a FIT in patients with high-risk symptoms, instead of urgent referral to rule out CRC, are likely to require intensive supporting educational outreach to increase GP confidence in the accuracy and application of a FIT in this context.

Type: Article
Title: Attitudes towards faecal immunochemical testing in patients at increased risk of colorectal cancer: an online survey of GPs in England
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3399/bjgp18X699413
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp18X699413
Language: English
Additional information: © British Journal of General Practice 2018. This article is Open Access: CC BY 4.0 licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: 2-week wait, colorectal cancer, cross-sectional survey, faecal immunochemical test, primary care, symptomatic
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Applied Health Research
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10059626
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