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Expert Consultation on Colorectal Cancer Screening in Latin America and Caribbean

Silvana Luciani

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The Pan American Health Organization, in collaboration with the USA Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has convened an expert consultation on colorectal cancer screening on 16th and 17th March 2016 at PAHO headquarters. The objective of the consultation is to stimulate colorectal cancer screening guidelines. During the consultation, currently available knowledge and scientific evidence on colorectal cancer screening methods were presented. As well, strategies, successful experiences and challenges in implementing high quality colorectal cancer screening programs, especially in limited resource settings, were discussed. The consultation will lead to an identification of opportunities to create and/or strengthen colorectal cancer screening programs in the region, including how to establish feasible quality assurance and program performance standards. Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer, with more than 240,000 people newly diagnosed and approximately 112,000 people dying from this disease each year, in the Americas. If no action is taken, colorectal cancer incidence is expected to have a 60% increase by 2030. Colorectal cancer can be detected at early stages, as it develops from non-malignant precursor lesions which can be identified through population based screening programs. Although guidelines vary by country, colorectal cancer screening is generally recommended, in an average risk population, to begin at age 50 years and continue at regular intervals until age 75. Screening tests include high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy. Regardless of the screening test, to be effective, an organized population based screening program is needed with established processes and procedures for quality assurance and monitoring of performance standards. While colorectal cancer screening programs have been established in Canada and the USA, most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean do not have such programs, or guidelines and services for colorectal cancer are often not available in the public sector. Guidance is needed on how to effectively implement evidence based and high quality colorectal cancer screening programs, particularly in limited resource settings. The meeting report can be found on the following link:

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