Trend data for colonoscopy follow-ups within 360 days are available for the years 2014 to 2016. Over this period colonoscopy follow-up rates within 360 days have decreased for both sexes, and in each group in the target age range.1
Changes in the reporting process for follow-up colonoscopies, as well as changes in diagnostic assessment pathway practices between years, may be factors contributing to this observed decrease.1 It should also be noted that this indicator relies on information being reported to the Program Register; however, this is not mandatory, leading to incomplete data.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
From 2014 to 2016, colonoscopy follow-up rates within 360 days decreased among Indigenous Australians from 58.5% to 52.0%. A similar decrease was observed for non-Indigenous Australians, for whom the rate decreased from 73.7% to 68.1%.1,4,5
Remoteness and socioeconomic status (SES)
From 2014 to 2016, colonoscopy follow-up rates within 360 days have decreased across each socioeconomic status area.1,4,5
In 2016, the colonoscopy follow-up rate was lower in each remoteness area compared to 2015.1,5
Colorectal cancer control in Australia
Over the period since the initial trialling of national cancer control screening through the pilot program and the subsequent implementation of the NBCSP, improvements have been observed in the age-standardised colorectal cancer mortality rate (decreasing from 22.9 deaths per 100,000 in 2002 to15.6 per 100,000 in 2015) and in the increased 5-year survival rate (62.0% in 2000–2004 to70.2% in 2010–2014).1,6 The AIHW has analysed outcomes from the NBSCP for persons who were aged 50-74 years during Phases 1 and 2 of the NBSCP, and were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the period 2006−2010. During these Phases, invitations to screen were sent to persons turning 50, 55 or 65 years old. For persons who did not receive an invitation to screen, the risk of colorectal cancer death was 13% higher than for those that did receive an invitation to screen.7
The NCCI measures Capture of stage data and Distribution of cancer stage present national data for Registry-Derived stage (RD-Stage) at diagnosis for the top 5 cancers by incidence in 2011. These data show that people aged 50 years and over had a higher proportion of early stage colorectal cancers at diagnosis (stage 1 and stage 2) than those aged less than 50 years. RD-stage data collection in subsequent years will provide us with more detailed evidence regarding the impact of the NBSCP on early detection of colorectal cancer in the target age range.