Mixed opinion on success of colon cancer screenings
Every year, more than 800,000 Danes are invited to a screening for colon cancer. This screening program has proved successful as it has reduced the risk of death by the cancer type by 29 percent for all ages and genders.
The effect of the screenings has proved to be even more successful among men over the age of 60, as the risk is reduced by 51 percent.
As the risk has been reduced for this age group it means that within three and half years there will only be 56 deaths from colon cancer out of every 100,000 screened. The number of deaths would be at 114 if patients did not take part in the screenings.
Downsides of the screening process
However, according to John Brodersen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, there are also downsides to the screening process that people need to be wary of.
When the program started in 2014 he mentioned that it was expensive and ineffective, and he still stands by this opinion today.
He believes there is a strong psychological effect, as there are also many people who receive false positives when blood is found in their stool samples, only to test negative when no signs of cancer are found during the endoscopic examination that follows.
Brodersen also thinks that people under the age of 60 should not be tested.
So far the Sundhedsstyrelsen health authority has been unwilling to listen to the criticism of its program. Nevertheless, a report is currently in the works regarding the status of all Danish screening programs.