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Pathology findings from the first seven years of the Northern Ireland Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.


Coleman HG1, Shah R2, O’Neill CJ3, Cameron RI4, Owen TA5, Dickey W6, Loughrey MB7

Departments / Institutions

1. Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast. 2. Department of Pathology, Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland. 3. Department of Cellular and Molecular Pathology, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland. 4. Department of Pathology, Western Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland. 18 USG AUTUMN MEETING 2017 5. Public Health Agency, Quality Assurance Reference Centre, Northern Ireland Cancer Screening Programmes, Belfast, Northern Ireland. 6. Department of Gastroenterology, Western Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland. 7. Department of Pathology, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland.

Publication Date

Autumn 2017


Bowel Cancer Screening (BCS) was introduced in Northern Ireland (NI) in 2010, and now invites 60-74 year olds to undertake faecal occult blood tests (FOBt). FOBt positive individuals are invited for colonoscopy, which may result in specimens for histopathological review.


To summarise findings from histopathological specimens processed within the first seven years of the BCS programme in NI.


Four histopathology laboratories report on BCS specimens in NI. A dedicated polyp-level database has been completed by reporting pathologists since inception.


Over seven years, 17,159 histopathological specimens were processed from 5,595 individuals. Of these, 554 individuals (9.9%) received a colorectal cancer diagnosis. Excluding cancer cases, 4,119 individuals (73.6% of total 5,595) received a diagnosis of at least one adenoma, as summarised in Table 1.

Table 1

Table 1


More than 4,000 individuals have benefitted from adenoma removal, and thereby reduced cancer risk, in the first seven years of BCS screening in NI.

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