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Feature Article

Colorectal cancer screening

Leah Gellert, Ian D Norton

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Abstract

Targeted population screening can help prevent colorectal cancer, the most common internal malignancy in Australia. Diagnosis of asymptomatic colorectal cancer and polypectomy to prevent cancer development are the goals of screening.

Key Points

  • Colorectal cancer is common but highly preventable.
  • Annual faecal occult blood testing (FOBT) is recommended for asymptomatic average risk individuals from the age of 50 years.
  • Symptomatic patients, those with a moderate or high risk family history, and those with a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal polyps or cancer should be evaluated by colonoscopy.
  • The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is a co-ordinated program currently being phased in to enhance the early detection of colorectal cancer through FOBT.

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