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Report
Rapid review

Results from clinical effectiveness evaluations of screening for colorectal cancer: rapid review

As of now, two methods for colorectal cancer screening have been evaluated for health impact in clinical effectiveness studies: faecal occult blood test and flexible sigmoidoscopy. On commission from the The Norwegian Council for Quality Improvement and Priority Setting in Health Care we have reviewed what we today know about the effectiveness of each method.


  • Issued/Revised: 2010
  • Fretheim A, Bretthauer M. Results from clinical effectiveness evaluations of screening for colorectal cancer: rapid review. Report 2010. ISBN (digital): 978-82-8121-347-0. Available at www.fhi.no/en

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Key message

Background

Most cases of colorectal cancer develop from benign precursors, so-called adenomas in the colon. Thus, methods for detecting colorectal cancers and its precursors are of major interest. One relevant approach is to conduct mass investigations of the population, or parts of it – “screening”.

Commission

As of now, two methods for colorectal cancer screening have been evaluated for health impact in clinical effectiveness studies: faecal occult blood test and flexible sigmoidoscopy. On commission from the The Norwegian Council for Quality Improvement and Priority Setting in Health Care we have reviewed what we today know about the effectiveness of each method.

Main findings 

  • Both screening with faecal occult blood test and with flexible sigmoidoscopy reduce the risk of death due to colorectal cancer
  • Based on the current knowledge we cannot conclude which of the methods is the most effective
This is a publication from the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services. The Knowledge Centre became part of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health 01/01/2016.

On colorectal cancer