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Int J Cancer. 2009 Jul 15;125(2):253-6. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24371.

Mass screening for colorectal cancer is not justified in most developing countries.

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Screening Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.


Most developed countries insist on the prevention of colorectal cancer (CRC) and offer screening to the population. Mass screening is proposed to both sexes in the population aged 50 years or more. Colonoscopy is then offered to persons having a positive faecal occult blood test. This recommendation should not be diffused over the world without considering the distinct dimensions of the risk and resources in developed and developing countries. A national screening policy is legitimate in developed countries like Japan, South Korea, and in North America and Europe. On the other hand, a mass screening policy for CRC is not recommended in most developing countries. The limited amount of resources attributed to health care for cancer should concern other indications in the control of common cancers, particularly in the cervix or liver. Indeed the risk of CRC is very low in most regions of Africa, and in some countries of South America and Asia.

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