Screening for colorectal cancer in adults

Pignone M P, Rich M, Teutsch S, Berg A, Lohr K
Record ID 32003001086
Authors' objectives:

This review aims to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different colorectal cancer screening tests.

Authors' results and conclusions: Direct evidence from multiple well-conducted randomized trials supports the effectiveness of fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) in decreasing colon cancer incidence and reducing mortality from colorectal cancer compared with no screening for average-risk adults over age 50. Data from well-conducted case-control studies support the effectiveness of sigmoidoscopy and possibly colonoscopy in reducing colon cancer mortality as well. A nonrandomized trial and indirect evidence support the use of combination FOBT and sigmoidoscopy. Indirect evidence from diagnostic accuracy studies suggests that double-contrast barium enema or virtual colonoscopy may also be effective compared with no screening. Data are insufficient to determine with confidence and precision the most effective or cost-effective strategies or the age at which screening should be stopped.
Authors' recommendations: Colorectal cancer screening is effective in reducing mortality from colorectal cancer. Current data are insufficient to determine the most effective or cost-effective strategy for screening, although all major strategies have favorable cost-effectiveness ratios compared with no screening.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2002
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: United States
MeSH Terms
  • Mass Screening
  • Occult Blood
  • Colorectal Neoplasms
Organisation Name: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Contact Address: Center for Outcomes and Evidence Technology Assessment Program, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. Tel: +1 301 427 1610; Fax: +1 301 427 1639;
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
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