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A national colorectal cancer screening programme


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Request for advice
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17 November 2009



The Committee has concluded that there is sufficient evidence to justify starting a national bowel cancer screening programme. The most appropriate screening method is an immunochemical Faecal Occult Blood Test (iFOBT). The Committee recommends a programme based on the screening of people between fifty-five and seventy-five years old once every two years. People in the target group would be sent a faecal test sampling kit by the screening organisation. The faecal sample would have to be sent to a laboratory to be tested for invisible traces of blood. Persons with a ‘positive’ (i.e. abnormal) test result would be referred for colonoscopy, which would take place in an outpatient clinic under sedation and with the aid of pain management.


  • Professor W.P.Th.M. Mali, MD, PhD, professor of radiology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, chairman
  • M. van Ballegooijen, MD, PhD, epidemiologist, Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, advisor
  • G.H. de Bock, MD, PhD, epidemiologist, Groningen University Medical Centre
  • J. Braspenning, PhD, psychologist, Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare, Nijmegen
  • Professor G.J. Dinant, MD, PhD, professor of general practice, Maastricht University Medical Centre
  • Professor R. Holland, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of oncological pathology, University Medical Centre St Radboud, Nijmegen
  • Professor N. Hoogerbrugge, MD, PhD, professor of hereditary cancer, University Medical Centre St Radboud, Nijmegen
  • Professor J.B.M.J. Jansen, MD, PhD, professor of gastroenterology, University Medical Centre St Radboud, Nijmegen, advisor
  • J. Kleijnen, MD, PhD, epidemiologist, Kleijnen Systematic Reviews, York, United Kingdom
  • Professor E.J. Kuipers, MD, PhD, professor of gastroenterology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, advisor
  • A.J.J.Lock, MD, Centre for population screening (RIVM), Bilthoven, advisor
  • Professor G.A. Meijer, MD, PhD, professor of pathology, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, advisor
  • A. Rendering, L.L.M, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague, observer
  • Professor J. Stoker, MD, PhD, professor of radiology, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, advisor
  • Professor R.A.E.M. Tollenaar, MD, PhD, professor of oncological surgery, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden
  • W.A. van Veen, MD, Health Council, The Hague, secretary

This publication may be cited as follows

Health Council of the Netherlands. A national colorectal cancer screening programme. The Hague: Health Council of the Netherlands, 2009; publication no. 2009/13E. ISBN  978-90-5549-780-5