Screening for Colorectal Cancer

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A voluntary colorectal screening program was carried out in North Carolina to evaluate the public's willingness to perform a do-it-yourself bowel test, to educate the public on the importance of routine colorectal screening, and to assess the efficacy of a small-scale screening program in detecting colorectal cancer. A screening kit was requested by 1,204 individuals after hearing or reading about the program; 770 kits were returned. Of 29 (3.7%) positive test results, six were negative after retesting. Adequate follow-up was available for 18 of the remaining 23 positive results. Thirteen were due to anal bleeding, diverticulosis, or heavy ingestion of aspirin; five were considered false-positive results, since no evidence of disease could be found. No cases of polypoid tumors or carcinoma were detected. The main value of such a program in an area with a small population base is to increase the awareness of the public of the importance of routine screening for colorectal cancer.

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