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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 …
Competing interests None.