Colorectal Cancer: Screening

Health written question – answered on 13th October 2011.

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Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Conservative, West Worcestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what information his Department holds on the recommendations of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on screening intervals for patients with hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer;

(2) what information his Department holds on the screening intervals used by each NHS Trust for patients with hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

For patients identified as being at risk of developing hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), “Improving Outcomes in Colorectal Cancers”, updated by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in 2004, recommends frequent surveillance from a young age. The guidance states that the frequency of this screening should be based on the recommendations of the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) and the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland (ACPGBI).

“Guidelines for colorectal cancer screening and surveillance in moderate and high risk groups”, published on behalf of the of the BSG and ACPGBI and updated in 2009, recommends that, from the age of 25, patients identified as being at risk of developing HNPCC receive a colonoscopy at intervals of between 18 and 24 months. From the age of 50, surveillance should also include an oesophagogastroduodenoscopy every two years. A copy of the guidance has been placed in the Library.

The surveillance of people identified as being at risk of HNPCC is managed locally. The Department does not monitor the surveillance protocols that are in place for individual patients.

Decisions regarding the surveillance of patients who have been diagnosed with HNPCC are made by clinicians on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the individual circumstances of each patient.

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