Ca-PRI 2019: CanTest FITs travel to Canada

University of Exeter Research Fellow Dr Sarah Bailey was awarded a CanTest Travelling Fellowship to visit Canada for Ca-PRI 2019 and presented her work on FITs.

“Thanks to a CanTest Travelling Fellowship, I was able to attend the 11th Cancer and Primary Care Research International Network (Ca-PRI) conference in Toronto in May 2019. This meeting brings together multidisciplinary researchers in primary care cancer from across the globe. Aside from the high-quality research presented during the meeting, it is also a fantastic opportunity to catch up with international colleagues and build networks and collaborations across the world.

During the conference, I presented a study that we are carrying out at the University of Exeter evaluating faecal immunochemical tests (FITs) in symptomatic primary care patients. This triage test is used in primary care for patients with ‘low risk but not no risk’ symptoms of colorectal cancer, to detect if they have blood in their stool. Those with a positive test are referred to secondary care for further investigation and colonoscopy. There has been a certain amount of controversy in introducing this test for the symptomatic primary care population, with some fearing it will lead to endoscopy services being overwhelmed with referrals. Our evaluation is still ongoing, but emerging evidence actually suggests small reductions in endoscopy referrals with the introduction of FIT.

Presenting this study at Ca-PRI was of great value; FIT is used in different ways in different countries, and gaining the perspectives of the international audience proved to be beneficial. I learnt more about how FIT is used in other countries (which is useful for another study we are carrying out evaluating FIT use across the globe) and my talk opened up new opportunities to collaborate with researchers who want to evaluate the test in their region.  I am grateful to the CanTest Travelling Fellowship scheme for enabling this visit, and for the new opportunities and collaborations that it helped foster.”

The CanTest Travelling Fellowships are designed to support visits by Junior Faculty to partner CanTest institutions, or to attend conferences and courses. The aim is to enhance research skills and expertise in early detection research, as well as fostering links and collaborations across international boundaries.

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