Evidence backs more frequent bowel screen

CRC deaths were reduced 18% among people undertaking biennial screening in the trial involving more than 150,000 people aged 45–74 years.

Among those randomly allocated to the intervention, a majority submitted results of 3–5 biennial screens.

“It is now over 18 years since the last subjects were involved and 15 years since screening ceased (median follow-up is 19.5 years),” the authors said.

“The absolute reduction in mortality from CRC was 1.66 per 1000 persons, giving a number of 602 persons… who need to be invited for screening for an average of six years to prevent one death over 20 years.”

The authors, whose research was funded by the UK Medical Research Council, said the adjusted number needed to be screened (as opposed to invited) to save one life was 300.

The data did not indicate a reduction in CRC incidence but the authors suggested it may be too soon to see a benefit from