Sunday, 22 October 2017

Effect of screening modality on the provision of endoscopic services for screening

Colonoscopy is the recommended test for follow-up investigation for individuals who have tested positive with other CRC screening tools (FOBT, Flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS), and also in experimental studies assessing potential screening tools, e.g. DNA faecal markers and CT colonography). Highquality endoscopy (colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS)) is also used in some Member States as a screening tool for colorectal cancer. The frequency of endoscopy when used as a primary screening tool will be much higher than endoscopy used as a follow-up investigation of another screening test. Thus the phrase ‘high-volume screening endoscopy’ will be used to refer to endoscopy used as a primary screening tool and ‘low-volume screening endoscopy’ will be used to refer to follow-up endoscopy. However, it is recognised that if the test positivity rate in a FOBT screening programme is high a large volume of colonoscopies will be generated. The key practical difference of these high- and low-volume populations requiring endoscopy in a screening context is the probability of identifying and nature of high-risk lesions

The setting in which the endoscopic procedure will be performed will be determined by: 
 quality and safety determinants;
 the need for sedation; 
 patient-oriented factors; 
 possible impact on symptomatic services; 
 infrastructure and efficiency; 
 staff competencies and equipment; and
 availability of support services. 

Quality and safety 

Diagnostic procedures, both flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy, can be performed safely in diverse clinical settings. When providing services for a colorectal cancer screening programme, the key consideration is what facilities and level of competence are required to remove high-risk lesions. Removing large high-risk lesions safely requires a considerable level of competence and appropriate support close at hand when a complication occurs. For example, it would be inappropriate to remove large or difficult high-risk lesions if the colonoscopist is only rarely faced with such a lesion (as in highvolume, low-risk population screening) or if the procedure is being done in a remote setting. 

The setting in which screening (or follow-up colonoscopy) is established will be determined by the ability to perform high-quality endoscopy (defined later) and by the probability of finding a high-risk lesion that is difficult to remove completely and safely. If there is concern about removing the lesion it is entirely appropriate for the colonoscopist to leave it (and perhaps tattoo it) and refer the patient on for either endoscopic, or in some instances, surgical excision. 

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