Screening for rectal cancer - Will it improve cure rates?

EM Tweedle, PS Rooney, AJM Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Here we give an overview of colorectal cancer screening strategies with an emphasis on the diagnosis and management of rectal cancer. We review the published studies on screening in the high-risk population, including patients with a history of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and inherited conditions. In the average-risk population, the evidence base for a number of screening strategies is evaluated, including endoscopy, contrast studies and faecal occult blood testing. Screening guidelines in the high-risk population are predominantly based on case-control studies comparing the incidence of colorectal cancer in screened and control groups. Screening the average-risk population for colorectal cancer reduces cancer-specific mortality by 15% after biennial guaiac faecal occult blood testing and 50-80% after flexible sigmoidoscopy. All of the screening strategies outlined have a greater sensitivity for distal lesions than proximal lesions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639–648
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Oncology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007


  • Case-Control Studies
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Rectal Neoplasms
  • Risk Factors

Cite this