Background and aims: In 2008, Ontario initiated a population-based colorectal screening program using guaiac fecal occult blood testing. This work was undertaken to fill a major gap in knowledge by estimating serious post-operative complications and mortality following major large bowel resection of colorectal cancer detected by a population-based screening program.
Methods: We identified persons with a first positive fecal occult blood result between 2008 and 2016, at the age of 50-74 years, who underwent a colonoscopy within 6 months, and proceeded to major large bowel resection for colon cancer within 6 months or rectosigmoid/rectal cancer within 12 months, and identified an unscreened cohort of resected cases diagnosed during the same years at the age of 50-74 years. We identified serious postoperative complications and readmissions ≤30 days following resection, and postoperative mortality ≤30 days, and between 31 and 90 days among the screen-detected and the unscreened cohorts.
Results: Serious post-operative complications or readmissions within 30 days were observed among 1476/4999 (29.5%) cases in the screen-detected cohort, and among 3060/8848 (34.6%) unscreened cases. Mortality within 30 days was 43/4999 (0.9%) among the screen-detected cohort, and 208/8848 (2.4%) among the unscreened cohort. Among 30 day survivors, mortality between 31 and 90 days was 28/4956 (0.6%) and 111/8640 (1.3%), respectively.
Conclusion: Serious post-operative complications, readmissions, and mortality may be more common following major large bowel resection for colorectal cancer between the ages of 50 and 74 among unscreened compared to screen-detected cases.
Keywords: Screen-detected colorectal cancer; population-based colorectal screening program; post-operative morbidity; post-operative mortality.