Health economics review of bowel cancer screening in Australia
Cancer Institute NSW Monograph
Authors: James Bishop, Parisa Glass, Elizabeth Tracey, Margaret Hardy, Kylie Warner, Koji Makino, Adam Gordois, Jodie Wilson, Carmel Guarnieri, Jun Feng and Lynn Sartori
from Executive summary (2008)
In NSW, screening for breast and cervical cancers has had a major impact on mortality associated with these diseases. In the past decade, mortality rates for breast and cervical cancers have declined by 22% and 52%, respectively. The principal cause of these mortality rate improvements comes from effective population-based screening programs.
Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer related death in NSW. Approximately one in 17 men and one in 26 women will develop bowel cancer before the age of 75. Population-based screening improves the likelihood of early detection of pre-cancerous lesions and early stage malignancies. Detection of pre-cancerous or early stage bowel cancers reduces morbidity and mortality associated with the disease.
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is a nationally coordinated, population-based initiative that commenced in August 2006. The Program currently targets Australians who turn 55 or 65 years of age each year, and those who participated in the Bowel Cancer Screening Pilot Program.
This report investigates current evidence relating to the efficacy of bowel cancer screening by conducting a systematic review of the literature. A systematic literature review was performed to demonstrate the clinical evidence of screening instruments used in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program – immunochemical faecal occult blood testing (iFOBT) and colonoscopy.
This report also examines whether a national bowel cancer screening program represents value for money for the Australian health systems. The extent of financial implications associated with implementing the program was also estimated.