Colorectal cancer screening: clinical applications

JAMA. 2003 Mar 12;289(10):1297-302. doi: 10.1001/jama.289.10.1297.


Screening for colorectal cancer reduces mortality in individuals aged 50 years or older. A number of screening tests, including fecal occult blood tests, sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, and colonoscopy, are recommended by professional organizations for colorectal cancer screening, yet the rates of colorectal cancer screening remain low. Questions regarding the quality of evidence for each screening test, whether screening for individuals at higher risk should be modified, the availability of the tests, and cost-effectiveness are addressed. Many potential barriers to colorectal cancer screening exist for the patient and the physician. Strategies to increase compliance for colorectal cancer screening are proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Making
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Mass Screening / economics
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity