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Randomised controlled trial
Once-only flexible sigmoidoscopy screening for adults aged 55–64 years old reduces the incidence of colorectal cancer and colorectal cancer deaths
  1. Johannes Blom
  1. Division of Surgery, Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Johannes Blom
    Division of Coloproctology, Center of Surgical Gastroenterology, K53, Karolinska University Hospital, SE 141 86 Stockholm, Sweden; johannes.blom{at}

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Colorectal cancer is an important health problem due to high morbidity and mortality but curable at an early stage and therefore ideal for screening. The faecal occult blood test (Hemoccult) has been demonstrated to reduce colorectal cancer mortality in population-based screening1 and is used in several European screening programmes. In addition, screening programmes with flexible sigmoidoscopy also have the potential of reducing the incidence of colorectal cancer by the removal of precursor stage – the adenomatous polyp.


Atkin and colleagues have performed a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the effect of once-only flexible sigmoidoscopy screening on incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer in the 55 to 64-year-old UK population. At 14 centres, approximately 170 000 people who had indicated in a questionnaire an interest to comply if they were offered screening were randomly allocated to the …

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  • Competing interests None.