Colorectal cancer screening in Canada is cost-effective

July 12, 2010

Colorectal cancer screening is cost-effective and offers the best value for provincial health ministries in Canada, states an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (pre-embargo link only) http://www.cmaj.ca/embargo/cmaj090845.pdf. A high sensitivity fecal test, such as the fecal immunochemical test, or colonoscopy every ten years is recommended.

Increased advanced detection helps prevent cancer and avoids future treatment costs.

The study, by researchers from the University of British Columbia and Dalhousie University, analyzed 10 screening strategies (including no screening) recommended in the American 2008 Multi-Society Task Force Guidelines on colorectal cancer screening.

"Depending on the strategy, screening yields reductions in colorectal cancer mortality between 39% and 83% and incidence between 26% and 81%," write Dr. Jennifer Telford and Dr. Robert Enns, University of British Columbia with coauthors.

These findings are consistent with previously published studies.

"Colorectal cancer screening of average-risk individuals is a cost-effective measure, even with less than perfect compliance," conclude the authors.
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Canadian Medical Association Journal

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