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Comput Biomed Res. 1999 Feb;32(1):13-33.

The MISCAN-COLON simulation model for the evaluation of colorectal cancer screening.

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Department of Public Health, Medical Faculty, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


A general model for evaluation of colorectal cancer screening has been implemented in the microsimulation program MISCAN-COLON. A large number of fictitious individual life histories are simulated in each of which several colorectal lesions can emerge. Next, screening for colorectal cancer is simulated, which will change some of the life histories. The demographic characteristics, the epidemiology and natural history of the disease, and the characteristics of screening are defined in the input. All kinds of assumptions on the natural history of colorectal cancer and screening and surveillance strategies can easily be incorporated in the model. MISCAN-COLON gives detailed output of incidence, prevalence and mortality, and the results and effects of screening. It can be used to test hypotheses about the natural history of colorectal cancer, such as the duration of progressive adenomas, and screening characteristics, such as sensitivity of tests, against empirical data. In decision making about screening, the model can be used for evaluation of screening policies, and for choosing between competing policies by comparing their simulated incremental costs and effectiveness outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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