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Epidemiol Prev. 2012 Nov-Dec;36(6 Suppl 1):55-77.

[Screening for colorectal cancer in Italy, 2010 survey].

[Article in Italian]

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Registro tumori del Veneto, IOV IRCCS, Padova.


We present the main results of the 2010 survey of the Italian screening programmes for colorectal cancer carried out by the National centre for screening monitoring (Osservatorio nazionale screening, ONS) on behalf of the Ministry of health. By the end of 2010, 105 programmes were active, 9 of which had been activated during the year, and 65% of Italians aged 50-69 years were residing in areas covered by organised screening programmes (theoretical extension). Twelve regions had their whole population covered. In the South of Italy and Islands, 5 new programmes were activated in 2010, with a theoretical extension of 29%. The majority of programmes employed the faecal occult blood test (FIT), while some adopted flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS) once in a lifetime and FIT for non-responders to FS. Overall, about 3,404,000 subjects were invited to undergo FIT, 47.2% of those to be invited within the year. The adjusted attendance rate was 48% and approximately 1,568,796 subjects were screened. Large differences in the attendance rate were observed among regions: 10% of programmes reported values lower than 24%. Positivity rate of FIT programmes was 5.5% at first screening (range: 1.6-11.3%) and 4.3% at repeat screening (range: 3.2-6.7%). The average attendance rate to total colonoscopy (TC) was 81.4% and in one region it was lower than 70%. Completion rate for total colonoscopy (TC) was 88.7%. Among the 740,281 subjects attending screening for the first time, the detection rate (DR) per 1,000 screened subjects was 2.4 for invasive cancer and 10.3 for advanced adenomas (AA - adenomas with a diameter ≥1 cm, with villous/tubulo-villous type or with high-grade dysplasia). As expected, the corresponding figures in the 843,204 subjects at repeat screening were lower (1.2‰ and 7.6‰ for invasive cancer and AA, respectively). The DR of cancer and adenomas increased with age and was higher among males. Many programmes reported some difficulties in guaranteeing TC in the appropriate time frame to FIT+ subjects: in 16% of cases the waiting time was longer than two months. Nine programmes employed FS as the screening test: 98% of the target population (about 60,000 subjects) were invited, and 13,629 subjects were screened, with an attendance rate of 24%. Overall, 87% of FS were classified as complete. TC referral rate was 9.5% and the DR per 1,000 screened subjects was 2.8 and 40.6 for invasive cancer and AA, respectively.

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