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      Uptake of the English Bowel (Colorectal) Cancer Screening Programme: an update 5 years after the full roll-out


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          The initial roll-out of the English Bowel (Colorectal) Cancer Screening programme, during 2006 and 2009, found uptake to be low (54%) and socially graded. The current analysis used data from 2010 to 2015 to test whether uptake is increasing and becoming less socially graded over time.


          Postcode-derived area-level uptake of 4.4 million first-time invitees, stratified by gender and the year of the first invitation (2010–2015), was generated using the National Bowel Cancer Screening System. Data were limited to people aged 60–64 years. Binomial regression tested for variations in uptake by the year of invitation, gender, region, area-based socio-economic deprivation and area-based ethnic diversity.


          Overall, the first-time colorectal cancer (CRC) screening uptake across 6 years was 52% (n = 2,285,996/4,423,734) with a decline between 2010 and 2015 (53%, 54%, 52%, 50%, 49%, 49% respectively). Uptake continued to be socially graded between the most and the least deprived area-level socio-economic deprivation quintiles (43% vs 57%), the most and the least area-based ethnic diversity quintiles (41% vs 56%) and men and women (47% vs 56%). Multivariate analysis demonstrated the effects of year, deprivation, ethnicity and gender on uptake. The effect of deprivation was more pronounced in the most deprived area quintile between men and women (40% vs 47%) than the least deprived area quintile (52% vs 62% respectively).


          We did not find evidence of change in uptake patterns in CRC screening since its initial launch 10 years ago. The programme is unlikely to realise its full public health benefits and is en route to widening inequalities in CRC outcomes.


          • Colorectal cancer screening uptake among first-time invitees remains low at 52%.

          • There is a worrying reduction in colorectal cancer screening uptake between 2010 and 2015.

          • There is no evidence that the social inequalities in uptake have reduced over time.

          • There is no evidence of diffusion of innovation in colorectal cancer screening uptake in England.

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          Most cited references21

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          Screening and surveillance for the early detection of colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps, 2008: a joint guideline from the American Cancer Society, the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology.

          In the United States, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer diagnosed among men and women and the second leading cause of death from cancer. CRC largely can be prevented by the detection and removal of adenomatous polyps, and survival is significantly better when CRC is diagnosed while still localized. In 2006 to 2007, the American Cancer Society, the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology came together to develop consensus guidelines for the detection of adenomatous polyps and CRC in asymptomatic average-risk adults. In this update of each organization's guidelines, screening tests are grouped into those that primarily detect cancer early and those that can detect cancer early and also can detect adenomatous polyps, thus providing a greater potential for prevention through polypectomy. When possible, clinicians should make patients aware of the full range of screening options, but at a minimum they should be prepared to offer patients a choice between a screening test that primarily is effective at early cancer detection and a screening test that is effective at both early cancer detection and cancer prevention through the detection and removal of polyps. It is the strong opinion of these 3 organizations that colon cancer prevention should be the primary goal of screening.
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            Cochrane systematic review of colorectal cancer screening using the fecal occult blood test (hemoccult): an update.

            Reducing mortality from colorectal cancer (CRC) may be achieved by the introduction of population-based screening programs. The aim of the systematic review was to update previous research to determine whether screening for CRC using the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) reduces CRC mortality and to consider the benefits, harms, and potential consequences of screening. We searched eight electronic databases (Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsychINFO, AMED, SIGLE, and HMIC). We identified nine articles describing four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving over 320,000 participants with follow-up ranging from 8 to 18 yr. The primary analyses used intention to screen and a secondary analysis adjusted for nonattendance. We calculated the relative risks and risk differences for each trial, and then overall, using fixed and random effects models. Combined results from the four eligible RCTs indicated that screening had a 16% reduction in the relative risk (RR) of CRC mortality (RR 0.84, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.78-0.90). There was a 15% RR reduction (RR 0.85, 95% CI 0.78-0.92) in CRC mortality for studies that used biennial screening. When adjusted for screening attendance in the individual studies, there was a 25% RR reduction (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.66-0.84) for those attending at least one round of screening using the FOBT. There was no difference in all-cause mortality (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.99-1.02) or all-cause mortality excluding CRC (RR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.03). The present review includes seven new publications and unpublished data concerning CRC screening using FOBT. This review confirms previous research demonstrating that FOBT screening reduces the risk of CRC mortality. The results also indicate that there is no difference in all-cause mortality between the screened and nonscreened populations.
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              Inequalities in participation in an organized national colorectal cancer screening programme: results from the first 2.6 million invitations in England

              An organized, population-based, colorectal cancer screening programme was initiated in England in 2006 offering biennial faecal occult blood testing (FOBT) to adults aged 60-69 years. Organized screening programmes with no associated financial costs to the individual should minimize barriers to access for lower socio-economic status (SES) groups. However, SES differences in uptake were observed in the pilot centres of the UK programme, so the aim of this analysis was to identify the extent of inequalities in uptake by SES, ethnic diversity, gender and age in the first 28 months of the programme. Design Cross-sectional analysis of colorectal cancer screening uptake data. Between October 2006 and January 2009, over 2.6 million adults aged 60-69 years were mailed a first FOBT kit by the five regional screening hubs. Uptake was defined as return of a test kit within 13 weeks. We used multivariate generalized linear regression to examine variation by area-based socioeconomic deprivation, area-based ethnicity, gender and age. Uptake was 54%, but showed a gradient across quintiles of deprivation, ranging from 35% in the most deprived quintile to 61% in the least deprived. Multivariate analyses confirmed an independent effect of deprivation, with stronger effects in women and older people. The most ethnically diverse areas also had lower uptake (38%) than other areas (52-58%) independent of SES, age, gender and regional screening hub. Ethnic disparities were more pronounced in men but equivalent across age groups. More women than men returned a kit (56 vs 51%), but there was also an interaction with age, with uptake increasing with age in men (49% at 60-64 years; 53% at 65-69 years) but not women (57 vs 56%). Overall uptake rates in this organized screening programme were encouraging, but nonetheless there was low uptake in the most ethnically diverse areas and a striking gradient by SES. Action to promote equality of uptake is needed to avoid widening inequalities in cancer mortality.

                Author and article information

                Eur J Cancer
                Eur. J. Cancer
                European Journal of Cancer
                Elsevier Science Ltd
                1 November 2018
                November 2018
                : 103
                : 267-273
                [a ]Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, UK
                [b ]Department of Statistical Science, University College London, UK
                Author notes
                [] Corresponding author: Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK. c.wagner@ 123456ucl.ac.uk
                Crown Copyright © 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                : 4 June 2018
                : 22 July 2018

                Oncology & Radiotherapy
                cancer screening uptake,inequalities,diffusion of innovation
                Oncology & Radiotherapy
                cancer screening uptake, inequalities, diffusion of innovation


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