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Colorectal cancer in Italy: a review of current national and regional practice on screening and treatment

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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most prevalent and deadly cancers in Italy. Its burden is expected to remain significant in the coming years, although it is mostly a preventable disease. Prevention and screening programmes will play an important role in the fight against CRC. A national formal screening programme was introduced in the 2003–2005 and 2005–2007 national health programmes, leaving the planning and implementation, respectively, to each region and local health unit. In 2007, screening programmes covered 46.6% of the eligible population, with a higher coverage in the North (71.6%) and in the Centre (52.1%) than in the South (7%). The majority of programmes used the guaiac faecal occult blood test (FOBT) as first-line test. Only few programmes used the flexible sigmoidoscopy, or a combination of both tests. The quality and efficacy of the screening programmes are evaluated using ad hoc indicators with acceptable and desirable targets. In Italy, there are formal guidelines for population-based and opportunistic screening, diagnosis, surgery, adjuvant and neoadjuvant treatments and surveillance, differentiating colon cancer from rectal cancer and advanced CRC. Guidelines are updated yearly. Overall, Italy is well positioned in the fight against CRC. Although many regions lag behind in the uptake of screening programmes, they are in the process of introducing them

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28326/

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