News Centre

17 Sep 2007

Consensus on Colorectal Cancer Screening Promotes Action among Asia Pacific Regions

17 Sep 2007

The Chinese University of Hong Kong held the Asia Pacific Consensus Meeting on Colorectal Cancer Screening on 15-16 September 2007. Experts from 14 regions including Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States participated in the meeting.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Hong Kong for both men and women. The disease surpasses both breast and liver cancer in incidence, and is second only to lung cancer in mortality. Because of active promotion of colorectal cancer, the United States has reported two consecutive years of declining mortality of colorectal cancer. Yet, in Asia, the trend is still on the rise and may exceed the figures in Western countries.

The meeting focuses on recommending and implementing colorectal cancer screening as part of a coordinated cancer prevention strategy in the Asia Pacific region. A set of consensus recommendations for colorectal cancer screening was issued to raise public awareness of this disease and urge government support to the movement. Participants representing a wide range of expertise, including gastroenterologists, surgeons, pathologists, public health workers, epidemiologists, health economists and family physicians, debated and voted on various issues regarding colorectal cancer screening and prevention. Representatives from the patient group, healthcare policy makers and non-government organizations also participated in the discussion.

In 2004, local gastroenterologists at The Chinese University of Hong Kong has called a group of renowned gastroenterologists and scientists from Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam to establish the Asia Pacific Working Group on Colorectal Cancer. The mandate is to produce scientific evidence that screening can help prevent colorectal cancer and save lives. Since then the Working Group has published several scientific papers on the epidemiology and screening of colorectal cancer in the Asian populations.

There is now ample evidence that detection and removal of colonic polyps can prevent colorectal cancer. Early diagnosis of colorectal cancer will also improve efficacy of treatments and hence survival of this deadly condition. The Consensus Statements (see appendix) recommend the preferred methods of screening for Asians, identify the high risk individuals who should be given priorities for screening, and define the role played by family doctors, nurses and healthcare providers.