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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 15 (2001), Issue 7, Pages 441-445
Original Article

Colorectal Cancer Screening: Video-Reviewed Flexible Sigmoidoscopy by Nurse Endoscopists — A Canadian Community-Based Perspective

TF Shapero,1 PE Alexander,2 J Hoover,1 E Burgis,1 and R Schabas3

1Scarborough Hospital, General Division, Endoscopy Unit, Canada
2Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada
3Cancer Care Ontario, Preventive Oncology, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Received 3 November 2000; Accepted 9 April 2001

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common incident cancer and the second most fatal cancer in Canada. Flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS) is one of the modalities under consideration for CRC screening. The present series reports on a screening program of FS performed by nonphysician endoscopists in a Canadian community setting, with video review of procedures by physicians and recommendation of follow-up colonoscopy where polyps are identified.

RESULTS: Five hundred twenty-five, average-risk, asymptomatic patients were examined. After exclusion of inappropriate referrals, 488 remained for analysis. The duration and extent of examination were comparable with those of previous studies elsewhere. Compliance with suggested follow-up was 97.3%. Polyps were identified at FS in 15.4% of examinees. In 8.2% of patients, the polyps were neoplastic at subsequent histology. Four malignant lesions were detected, all at an early stage. There were no complications of FS.

INTERPRETATION: This report shows that FS can be carried out safely and effectively by nonphysician personnel in a community setting in Canada. The manpower cost for nonphysician operators is considerably less than that for specialist physician endoscopists. This approach deserves consideration in cost effectiveness analyses of CRC screening.