Background: In the past three decades, the incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) in Norway has doubled, surpassing all other Nordic countries for both men and women to become the most frequently diagnosed cancer. A small-scale, randomized study on flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS) screening in Telemark, Norway, has shown a reduction in accumulated CRC incidence after 13 years. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effect on CRC mortality and morbidity by screen detection of CRC and removal of precursor lesions (polypectomy), and to test out the management and organization mimicking a countrywide screening service. A total of 13,823 men and women (1:1), age 55-64 years, were drawn randomly from the population registries in Oslo (urban) and the county of Telemark (mixed urban and rural) and invited to have a screening examination. The rest of the relevant age cohorts constituted the control groups. In the screening group, 535 individuals were excluded according to exclusion criteria, rendering 13,288 individuals eligible for screening examination.
Methods: A once only screening model was used. In the screening group, individuals were randomized to have a once only FS or a combination of FS and faecal occult blood test (FOBT).
Results: The overall attendance rate was 8,849 out of 13,288 (67%); 73% in Telemark and 60% in Oslo. Attendance for FS only was 68% and 65% for combined FS&FOBT.
Conclusions: The present FSIFS&FOBT screening study obtained a high acceptance rate for both screening modalities. The attendance rate was stable throughout the trial, suggesting an acceptable model for management of future countrywide screening.