Screening for colorectal cancer: medical and economic aspects

S. Sanduleanu*, R.W. Stockbrügger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Screening for colorectal cancer: medical and economic aspects.

Sanduleanu S, Stockbrugger RW.

Dept. of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands.

BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second commonest cause of cancer death in the Western world. In The Netherlands, CRC causes about 4400 deaths per year, and its diagnosis and treatment make up for a large share of health-care costs. METHODS: Review and discussioN. RESULTS: Experts in the field presently assume that screening for CRC and its precursor lesions, colorectal adenomas (CRAs), could prevent death from colorectal neoplasia by more than 80%. Additionally, there is increasing acknowledgement that CRC screening programmes can save lives at a cost similar to, or even less than, the generally accepted breast cancer or cervical cancer screening programmes. Nonetheless, while neighbouring countries have taken vigorous measures to fight CRC, the Dutch are still hesitating in this matter. This is partly due to some yet unanswered questions concerning the acceptability of screening for CRC in the general population, the starting age and the frequency of screening, the type of screening tests to be used, and the programme organization. In this commentary, general epidemiological and pathogenetic aspects of CRC are addressed. In addition, some frequently asked questions (FAQ) and (very subjective) answers about screening for CRC are offered, as potential substrate for further in-depth discussions. CONCLUSION: The emerging message for the community is that an effective national screening programme is urgently required to reduce the substantial morbidity and mortality from this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages4
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


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