Colorectal cancer population screening programs worldwide in 2016: An update

World J Gastroenterol. 2017 May 28;23(20):3632-3642. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v23.i20.3632.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world. The incidence and mortality show wide geographical variations. Screening is recommended to reduce both incidence and mortality. However, there are significant differences among studies in implementation strategies and detection. This review aimed to present the results and strategies of different screening programs worldwide. We reviewed the literature on national and international screening programs published in PubMed, on web pages, and in clinical guidelines. CRC Screening programs are currently underway in most European countries, Canada, specific regions in North and South America, Asia, and Oceania. The most extensive screening strategies were based on fecal occult blood testing, and more recently, the fecal immunochemical test (FIT). Participation in screening has varied greatly among different programs. The Netherlands showed the highest participation rate (68.2%) and some areas of Canada showed the lowest (16%). Participation rates were highest among women and in programs that used the FIT test. Men exhibited the greatest number of positive results. The FIT test has been the most widely used screening program worldwide. The advent of this test has increased participation rates and the detection of positive results.

Keywords: Colonoscopy; Colorectal cancer; Colorectal cancer screening; Fecal immunochemical test; Fecal occult blood test.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Canada
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Immunochemistry
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Occult Blood