Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)-based screenings have proven effective in detecting early-stage colorectal cancer (CRC) during both initial and subsequent screenings. Research data indicates that CRCs identified through FIT screenings are more frequently diagnosed at stages I to II (66%-71%) compared to CRCs detected clinically (40%-57%).
Arthur I. Kooyker, MD, PhD, from the department of public health at Erasmus University Medical Center, and his team utilized data from a Dutch CRC screening program, examining over 266,434 individuals. The results showed that 66.5% of CRCs were diagnosed at stages I to II during the first screening and 67.7% during the second screening. Even when the FIT cutoff was hypothetically increased, the majority of the detected CRCs remained at stages I to II. The study concluded that while increasing the FIT cutoff level might reduce CRC detection, the stage distribution of the detected CRCs remains largely unaffected.