Colorectal cancer prevention in Europe: burden of disease and status of screening programs

Prev Med. 2014 May;62:132-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.02.010. Epub 2014 Feb 14.


Colorectal cancer is a major public health challenge worldwide. In Europe it is the first malignancy in terms of incidence and the second in terms of mortality in both genders. Despite evidence indicating that removal of premalignant and early-stage cancer lesion scan greatly reduce mortality, remarkable differences are still found among countries both in terms of organized screening programs and of the tests used. In 2003 the European Council recommended that priority be given to activation of organized cancer screening programs, and various states have been making significant efforts to adopt effective prevention programs with international quality standards and centralizing screening organization and result evaluation. After a 2008 European Union report on the state of screening program, activation highlighted that little more than 50% (12/22) of Member States had colorectal cancer screening programs, Screening programs have been adopted or earlier pilot projects have been extended nationwide. This paper examines the state of activation and the screening strategies of colorectal cancer screening programs in EU States as of July 2013.

Keywords: Cancer; Colorectal; EU28; Screening.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Quality Improvement