More positive FOBTs follow folate fortification

In the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s latest report on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), covering July 2008 to June 2011, the FOBT positivity rate was 7.8% compared to 7.5% in the previous period.

Australian health authorities are keeping a close watch on bowel cancer rates following the fortification of bread-making flour starting in October 2009, on advice from Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the AIHW report said.

Other factors could have caused the increased positivity rate, including the fact that three different kits were used in phase two of the program, following the temporary suspension of screening due to a faulty test kit, AIHW spokesperson Chris Sturrock said.