Ontario's ColonCancerCheck: results from canada's first province-wide colorectal cancer screening program

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Mar;23(3):508-15. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0956. Epub 2014 Jan 17.


Background: ColonCancerCheck (CCC), Canada's first province-wide colorectal cancer screening program, was publicly launched in Ontario in April 2008. The objective of this article is to report on key indicators of CCC Program performance since its inception.

Methods: The CCC Program recommends biennial guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) for persons 50 to 74 years of age at average risk for colorectal cancer and colonoscopy for those at increased risk (having one or more first-degree relatives with a diagnosis of colorectal cancer). Opportunistic screening with colonoscopy is available in Ontario. Five data sources were used to compute indicators of program performance during 2008 to 2011. The indicators computed were FOBT participation, overdue for screening, FOBT positivity, positive predictive value (PPV) of FOBT for colorectal cancer, diagnostic follow-up, and colorectal cancer detection rate.

Results: In 2011, FOBT participation was 29.8% and 46.8% of the target population was overdue for screening. FOBT positivity was higher among men (5.1%) than women (3.5%), and the PPV of FOBT for cancer was 4.3% in 2011. Follow-up colonoscopy within 6 months of a positive FOBT was completed by 74.6% of Program participants in 2011. The cancer detection rates for FOBT and for colonoscopy in those with a family history were 1.3 per 1,000 and 4.0 per 1,000, respectively, in 2011.

Conclusion: These results provide an early indication of Program performance and provide findings relevant to other organized colorectal cancer screening programs.

Impact: The greater cancer detection rate in those at increased risk due to family history who undergo colonoscopy screening suggests that a strategy of risk stratification will enhance the impact of FOBT-based screening programs.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood
  • Ontario / epidemiology