Adherence to national guidelines for colorectal cancer screening in Israel: Comprehensive multi-year assessment based on electronic medical records

Colorectal Cancer

Paltiel O, et al. J Med Screen 2020.


OBJECTIVES: To assess time trends in colorectal cancer screening uptake, time-to-colonoscopy completion following a positive fecal occult blood test and associated patient factors, and the extent and predictors of longitudinal screening adherence in Israel.

SETTING: Nation-wide population-based study using data collected from four health maintenance organizations for the Quality Indicators in Community Healthcare Program.

METHODS: Screening uptake for the eligible population (aged 50-74) was recorded 2003-2018 using aggregate data. For a subcohort (2008-2012, N = 1,342,617), time-to-colonoscopy following a positive fecal occult blood test and longitudinal adherence to screening guidelines were measured using individual-level data, and associated factors assessed in multivariate models.

RESULTS: The annual proportion screened rose for both sexes from 11 to 65%, increasing five-fold for age group 60-74 and >six-fold for 50-59 year olds, respectively. From 2008 to 2012, 67,314 adults had a positive fecal occult blood test, of whom 71% eventually performed a colonoscopy after a median interval of 122 (95% confidence interval 110.2-113.7) days. Factors associated with time-to-colonoscopy included age, socioeconomic status, and comorbidities. Only 25.5% of the population demonstrated full longitudinal screening adherence, mainly attributable to colonoscopy in the past 10 years rather than annual fecal occult blood test performance (83% versus 17%, respectively). Smoking, diabetes, lower socioeconomic status, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension were associated with decreased adherence. Performance of other cancer screening tests and frequent primary care visits were strongly associated with adherence.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite substantial improvement in colorectal cancer screening uptake on a population level, individual-level data uncovered gaps in colonoscopy completion after a positive fecal occult blood test and in longitudinal adherence to screening, which should be addressed using focused interventions.