Will there be a national screening program for colorectal cancer?

There are ongoing discussions about whether to implement a national screening program for colorectal cancer in Norway. Prof. Bretthauer has contributed in a summary of the current evidence base regarding health effects of this type of screening. A decision is expected this fall.

On request from the Norwegian Directorate for Health, The Knowledge Centre at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has prepared a summary of the current evidence base regarding health effects of this type of screening. Authors are Atle Fretheim, Liv Merete Reinar (both from The Knowledge Centre) and professor Michael Bretthauer (Clinical Effectiveness Group/University of Oslo). Members of the Clinical Effectiveness Group have contributed in the summary with several research papers and clinical trials.

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In addition to the report containing a summary of the current evidence, a workgroup has been assigned to investigate the consequences of a national screening program, including methods, patient safety, colorectal cancer prevention and benefits and harms of such a program. The group leader is Thomas de Lange, and he recently announced that the workgroup has decided to recommend a national screening program for colorectal cancer in Norway.

– We recommend a national screening program because it may reduce the cancer burden, both for the individual and the society. To prevent colorectal cancer is more cost effective than to treat it, says de Lange to Dagens Medisin (Norwegian).

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