Toward standardizing and reporting colorectal cancer screening indicators on an international level: The International Colorectal Cancer Screening Network

Int J Cancer. 2012 Jun 15;130(12):2961-73. doi: 10.1002/ijc.26310. Epub 2011 Aug 30.


The International Colorectal Cancer Screening Network was established in 2003 to promote best practice in the delivery of organized colorectal cancer screening programs. To facilitate evaluation of such programs, we defined a set of universally applicable colorectal cancer screening measures and indicators. To test the feasibility of data collection, we requested data on these variables and basic program characteristics from 26 organized full programs and 9 pilot programs in 24 countries. The size of the target population for each program varied considerably from a few thousand to 36 million. The majority of programs used fecal occult blood tests for primary screening, with more using guaiac than immunochemical tests. There was wide variation in the ability of screening programs to report the requested measures and in the values reported. In general, pilot programs were more likely to provide screening measure values than were full programs. As expected, detection rates for polyps and neoplasia were substantially higher in programs screening with endoscopy than in those using fecal occult blood tests. It is hoped that the screening measures and indicators, once revised in the light of this survey, will be adopted and used by existing programs and those in the early planning stages, allowing international comparison with the goal of improved colorectal cancer screening quality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / standards*
  • Guaiac
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • Occult Blood
  • Reference Standards


  • Guaiac