Colonoscopy overused in screening

A study in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) this week prompted cancer experts to reiterate calls for expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) in order to save the lives of up to 500 Australians per year.

A low 43% uptake of faecal occult blood test (FOBT) kits, currently mailed to all Australians turning 50, 55 and 65, was identified as a key deficiency of the existing program in the study of around 1100 randomly selected individuals in the NSW Hunter region.

It found that among 777 asymptomatic people, 16% had had colonoscopy within the previous five years, of whom 81% were at, or