Updated NICE guidance could lead to around 100,000 fewer colonoscopies

  • Date: 31 August 2023

NICE has recommended that people with signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer should be offered home quantitative faecal immunochemical tests (FIT) which could lead to faster diagnosis and fewer patients referred to secondary care for unnecessary colonoscopy.

Employing the tests could mean that patients requiring follow-up investigation could be prioritised for referral, allowing colonoscopy services to focus on those most at risk.

Analysis carried out by NICE shows that a 25 per cent reduction in the number of people referred would mean 94,291 fewer colonoscopies taking place.

Mark Chapman, interim director of medical technology and digital evaluation at NICE, said: “Our recommendations can help around 100,000 people avoid having a colonoscopy when an at home test could rule out the need for one and at the same time free up waiting lists to diagnose those more likely to have colorectal cancer.

“Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. These recommendations ensure we are balancing the best care with value for money, while at the same time delivering both for individuals and society as a whole.”

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