Extensive international study unequivocally concludes colorectal cancer screening works

The evidence is in and it could not be clearer – colorectal screening works splendidly.

The results of a landmark European study presented recently unequivocally concluded that mortality rates from colorectal cancer drop with proper screening tests. The study was conducted from 1989 to 2010 and was part of the comprehensive Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe.

Philippe Autier, M.D., MPH and vice president of population studies at the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, said those exact words – “The evidence could not be clearer” – when speaking last fall at the European Cancer Congress 2013 in Amsterdam.

Autier presented data from SHARE, which collected colorectal screening information on men and women 50 and older in 11 European countries over a 22-year period. The more screening that was done among men and women, the lower the mortality rate. Conversely, according to Autier, lower rates from colorectal cancer (CRC) were not noticeable in countries of low screening, even when healthcare services were similar to those offered by countries with higher level of screening.

The good news continues because the reduced mortality rate was apparent with different types of medical screens – sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy or fecal occult blood test. Various methods of screening were effective in lowering the mortality rate of CRC. GIA offers a variety of screening procedures with the colonoscopy representing the gold standard because it allows for a visual examination of the entire colon with removal of any polyps found.

The abstract was presented at the 2013 congress by Autier, who was one of seven authors, in the category of public health and epidemiology. The findings presented at the congress are online and searchable by medical topic via a dropdown menu of tracks and session types. Autier’s specific abstract may also be directly viewed here by searching for Abstract number 1405.

GIA is at the forefront of preventive medicine, and this study confirms what we have dedicated ourselves daily to doing – screening for better health and early detection because colorectal cancer is almost always successfully treatable when discovered early. We know what we do makes a difference for our patients, and it is gratifying to see it confirmed with a comprehensive, international study.