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Colorectal Cancer Screening

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May 1998

View or download Summary/Report

Clinical Focus*

The scope of this technical review includes screening for colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps in asymptomatic people at average risk for colorectal cancer, subsequent diagnostic evaluation in those with positive screening tests, and surveillance of those with colorectal disease. Other populations addressed include persons who have:

  • A family history of colorectal cancer.
  • A family history of adenomatous polyps.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer.
  • Had adenomatous polyps removed.

There are several tests available as options for colorectal cancer screening, but the evidence supporting their use varies considerably. The screening tests reviewed for this report include fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), 60 cm flexible sigmoidoscopy, FOBT combined with flexible sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema (DCBE), and colonoscopy. Evidence of each screening test is summarized for performance, effectiveness, possible screening frequency, test complications, and patient acceptance.

*Addressed in the summary or evidence report.

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Colorectal Cancer Screening

Topic Nominator: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Current as of May 1998


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