Do I need to take the NHS bowel screening (FIT) test if I have a J pouch?
The NHS in England invites people over 60 to take part in a bowel screening programme and you may have received an invitation to participate. The test requires you to send a poo sample and the test is called a faecal immunochemical test, or ‘FIT kit’ for short. The test detects blood in your poo (blood you would not notice by eye).
However, people with an internal ileoanal pouch (j pouch, w pouch etc) do not have a colon. So, is bowel screening necessary or relevant?
I have raised this question and been advised by respected colorectal consultants and the St. Mark’s pouch nurse team that the test is NOT relevant for anyone with a pouch and, if you have a pouch, you may safely decline. Of course, taking the test itself will do you no harm, but the results will be meaningless and misleading.
If you are in doubt, discuss with your own colorectal team.
See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bowel-cancer-screening-benefits-and-risks/nhs-bowel-cancer-screening-helping-you-decide for details of the test, but this article makes no reference to the significance of having a j pouch.