Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most frequent malignant disease in Europe. Every year, 412 000 people are diagnosed with this condition, and 207 000 patients die of it. In 2003, recommendations for screening programs were issued by the Council of the European Union (EU), and these currently serve as the basis for the preparation of European guidelines for CRC screening. The manner in which CRC screening is carried out varies significantly from country to country within the EU, both in terms of organization and the screening test chosen. A screening program of one sort or another has been implemented in 19 of 27 EU countries. The most frequently applied method is testing stool for occult bleeding (fecal occult blood test, FOBT). In recent years, a screening colonoscopy has been introduced, either as the only method (Poland) or the method of choice (Germany, Czech Republic).
Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Europe; Fecal occult blood test; Screening colonoscopy; Screening programs.