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#Time4Change: Estonia

Published on 06 March 2018 back to previous

The latest statistics from the Estonian Cancer Registry in 2015 places colorectal cancer (CRC) as the third most prevalent cancer in women at 11% and the forth most prevalent cancer in men at 10% of all cancers. For women, 487 new cases were diagnosed (326 C18 and 161 C19-21) in 2015 compared to 407 new cases in men (241 C18 and 166 C19-21).

Each year the number of CRC cases diagnosed keeps increasing. A significant factor is a growing ageing population.

The problem is that CRC is too often diagnosed in the advanced stage with 2/3 already metastatic. Fortunately, the prognosis for survivorship has improved for both women and men with about half the affected patients living for 5 or more years.

The national CRC screening program in Estonia was launched in 2016 where 17,454 invitations were sent to people in the 60-year age group who were registered with national health. The acceptance rate was 37.4% with 6,535 participants attending the screening clinics. In 2017 the screening program for CRC was expanded to include two age groups (60 and 62) with 33,570 invitations being sent out resulting in 7,758 screening participants or 21.8% acceptance rate.

Family doctors administer initial tests (fecal blood count) and where required will send patients for a colonoscopy.

We do not yet have statistical data on the effectiveness of the screening program however initial feedback from patients and family doctors has been positive.
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