Colorectal cancer screening
09. 09. 2019 | Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses at the Faculty of Medicine of the Masaryk University
Screening is a strategy used in a population to detect a disease in individuals without signs or symptoms of that disease. The intention of screening is to identify disease in a community early, thus enabling earlier intervention and management in the hope to reduce morbidity and mortality from a disease.
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However, not all cancer types are suitable for screening; a “suitable” cancer type should meet the following criteria:
- morbidity of this cancer type is relatively high,
- an effective treatment for early stages of this cancer type is available,
- an affordable test exists for the detection of this cancer type.
Main benefits of screening tests involve significant improvements in disease prognosis, together with the prospect of less radical (mostly also less expensive) treatment which, in fact, is usually much more effective. The following screening programmes have proved to be highly effective:
Colorectal cancer screening consists in regular faecal occult blood tests or screening colonoscopies. People aged over 50 years can decide between the following options:
- Perform a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) each year. This test is provided by every general practitioner and is very easy to use.
- Have a screening colonoscopy, which is sufficiently reliable to be performed in ten-year intervals.
However, these general recommendations only apply to asymptomatic individuals (i.e., persons without any symptoms) and can vary significantly in different people.
Generally speaking, malignant tumours can be treated relatively easily and effectively if they are detected at an early stage. You are therefore strongly advised not to hesitate and to visit your doctor if you belong to a risk group.
Colorectal cancer screening in the Czech Republic
In January 2009, the Czech Ministry of Health (MZCR) launched the nationwide screening programme focused on the early detection of colorectal cancer, thus adding another programme of cancer prevention to the nationwide breast cancer screening, which started in 2002, and cervical cancer screening, which started in 2008. Regular preventive check-ups are the most affordable protection against cancer. The main aim of the Ministry is to offer people qualified preventive examinations of the colon and rectum in accredited centres that meet the criteria of modern diagnostic methods.
From the legislative point of view, the project is enshrined in the Decree no. 70/2012 Coll. of MZCR, stipulating the content and intervals of preventive examinations. Specifically, the criteria and conditions for colorectal cancer screening in the Czech Republic are defined by the Czech Ministry of Health Gazette No. 01/2009.
The Cervical Cancer Screening Programme in the Czech Republic follows the Council Recommendation of 2 December 2003 on cancer screening, stating that all EU members should adopt organised screening programmes for breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer. The Council of the European Union recommends the collection of data on preventive examination, subsequent diagnostic procedures and final diagnoses. These data should be used to monitor the screening process and the results should be made available to the public and to health professionals. A detailed recommendation for the implementation of cancer screening programmes in individual EU members is provided in the European guidelines for quality assurance in colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis ( PDF file, 4.1 MB). Data collection from colorectal cancer screening in the Czech Republic complies with the recommendation of the Council of the European Union, making it possible to monitor the screening programme in a way compatible with the European Guidelines.
The Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme is currently ensured by several dozen accredited screening centres whose functioning is monitored and checked according to transparent rules. The programme course, adherence to the stipulated rules, as well as research activities linked to the project are overseen by the Colorectal Cancer Screening Committee at the Ministry of Health.
Accredited screening centres
The Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme is currently ensured by several dozen accredited centres whose functioning is monitored and checked according to transparent rules. An accredited laboratory must meet the strict “Standard for the provision and reporting of colorectal cancer screening in the Czech Republic”, as stipulated in the Czech Ministry of Health Gazette No. 01/2009.