Population Screening Act: accelerated repeat screening for bowel cancer
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14 February 2012
The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport has recently decided to implement a national bowel cancer screening programme starting in 2013. This screening programme involves offering an immunochemical faecal occult blood test (iFOBT) to people aged between 55 and 75 years every two years.
The question is whether repeat iFOBT screening at short intervals for a limited number of times yields equally good results as iFOBT screening every two years. In order to study this hypothesis, the Elkerliek Hospital in Helmond and the Comprehensive Cancer Centre South (IKZ) in Eindhoven have submitted a licence application in accordance with the Population Screening Act (WBO). The Population Screening Committee of the Health Council has tested the study described in the licence application against the WBO, as requested by the minister.
The proposed study aims to provide more clarity about the acceptance and yield of repeat iFOBT screening at short intervals (three sets of two tests within one year). A random group of 5500 people will be selected for the screening trial. In three rounds, the investigators expect to detect 95 percent of the bowel cancers and 80 percent of the advanced adenomas that would have been detected by primary colonoscopy – the screening method with the greatest yield. According to the Committee, the proposed project meets the legal requirements of the WBO. The Committee advises the minister to grant a licence for the execution of this study.
This publication may be cited as follows
Health Council of the Netherlands. Population Screening Act: accelerated repeat screening for bowel cancer. The Hague: Health Council of the Netherlands, 2012; publication no. 2012/01 ISBN 978-90-5549-891-8