Adherence to follow-up after a positive fecal occult blood test in an organized colorectal cancer screening program in Korea, 2004-2008

Kui Son Choi, Hoo Yeon Lee, Jae Kwan Jun, Aesun Shin, Eun Cheol Park

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Background and Aim: To investigate the participation rates, positivity rates, and follow-up rates from 2004 to 2008 in an organized colorectal cancer (CRC) screening program using a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) in Korea. Methods: The study population was men and women aged 50 years or older who were invited to participate in the National Cancer Screening Program for CRC between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2008. We collected the FOBT results and follow-up information for the FOBT positives. Results: Participation rates increased steadily each year from 10.5% in 2004 to 21.1% in 2008. Between 2004 and 2008, FOBT positivity rates declined from 8.0% to 6.8%. Among the FOBT-positives, 61.3% of participants underwent either colonoscopy or double contrast barium enema (DCBE) in 2004, and this rate decreased to 38.6% in 2008. Age, health insurance type, and screening history were associated with adherence to follow-up test after a positive FOBT. With regard to follow-up tests, colonoscopy rates increased from 17.9% in 2004 to 27.6% in 2008, while DCBE decreased from 43.4% in 2004 to 11.0% in 2008. Colonoscopy was significantly more likely to be chosen as a follow-up test by men, participants aged 50-59 years, and National Health Insurance beneficiaries. Conclusion: These findings suggest that targeting participants for follow-up, based on age and previous screening history, could be a good way to improve the follow-up rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-1077
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Double contrast barium enema
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Screening

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