This is the statement of celebration for this year's National Medical Laboratory Week; April 22-28, 2018.
Since 1985, The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) has sponsored this special week to highlight the vital role of medical laboratory professionals in Canada's health care system and shine a light on the dedicated women and men in this health care field.
"Lab professionals are critical to the whole health care picture, yet since their work is not visible to the public, mostly conducted behind the closed doors of the lab, there is not a great understanding for the role they play" says Lisette Vienneau, CSMLS President.
As part of the Lab Week campaign, lab professionals are encouraged to raise public awareness and provide education on their role and its impact on patient care. The CSMLS creates tools to help with these initiatives, including videos that take viewers behind the scenes of a lab. Each video gives an overview of a lab test and meets the people who work in that discipline.
"National Medical Laboratory Week is a highlight of the year for many lab professionals. With many labs experiencing staff shortages the added stress can really weigh on individuals, so a week like this can really boost morale," says CSMLS Chief Executive Officer, Christine Nielsen. "It's important to celebrate the hard work and recognize these health professionals' contributions to patient care."
Provincial health authorities have once again discovered a problem with a laboratory test designed for people considered at average risk of colon cancer.
B.C. Laboratories and B.C. Cancer Agency say recent fecal immunochemical test (FIT) results are showing a spike in the number of positive screens being returned — more patients are testing positive than is typical.
On average, 15 per cent of patients screen positive and require further testing, but the Provincial Health Authority says an additional five per cent of patients who would have previously had a borderline negative result can expect to screen positive.
“We are working diligently with our partners on a long-term resolution that will ensure British Columbians are able to continue to have trust and confidence in this very important early cancer screening tool,” said Dr. Jim Cupples, vice president of the B.C. Agency for Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. “We are working with our partners including B.C. Cancer and the Ministry of Health to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”
A spike in positive tests last October led to the B.C. Cancer Agency suspending all stool sample collection testing for three months.
The test sensitivity problem was blamed on a liquid solution, known as a reagent, used to test the fecal samples in the labs. A new reagent, which has been in use since mid-December, was performing to expected standards until very recently.
The Provincial Health Services Authority says, despite the recent spike, testing will continue and a higher percentage of patients than normal will be referred for a follow-up colonoscopy.