Colorectal Cancer Screening

Project Details

We will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the CRC screening activity taking place in Australia across the spectrum of cancer risk, and assess the long-term impact of CRC screening on incidence and mortality. Our overall goal is to provide novel and essential information to inform the design of optimal CRC prevention strategies. The three specific aims of this project are:

Aim 1 Screening practices:

To provide an up-to-date assessment of the CRC screening uptake in Australia for people in four risk categories: at average-risk; slightly above-average risk; moderately increased risk; and potentially high-risk of the disease as defined by NHMRC criteria. We will survey Australians, stratified by risk category, utilising the Australasian Colorectal Cancer Family Registry.

Aim 2 Reasons for screening:

To determine the advice provided about screening to people in each of these four risk categories. We will survey Australians, stratified by risk category, utilising the Australasian Colorectal Cancer Family Registry.

Aim 3 Outcomes of screening:

Determine the long-term impact of  screening practices on CRC incidence and mortality in each  risk category longitudinal survey data from the international Colon Cancer Family Registr. 

Project summary

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major public health issue in Australia. However, despite the large scientific consensus that screening reduces CRC incidence and mortality and the existence of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, screening uptake remains very low in Australia, particularly for people at increased risk due to family history of disease. Underuse of CRC screening (i.e. individuals who screen less frequently than recommended) is a major obstacle to the effectiveness of screening programmes. Overuse of CRC screening by those at low risk also occurs (i.e. screening more frequently than recommended) and similarly, is a major problem for screening programmes because it results in an increased burden on limited public health resources. Very little is known about the screening activity taking place in Australia:

  • To what extent screening is occurring and what are the demographics and risk profiles of people screened? 
  • How prevalent is under- and over-screening for each risk category of the population?  
  • Why is this occurring, and to what degree is it affecting the burden of CRC in the population? 

This project will address these questions, which are critical to the design and implementation of effective CRC screening strategies in Australia.


Professor Mark Jenkins

Associate Professor Alex Boussioutas (Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute)

Dr Louisa Flander

Dr Driss Ait Ouakrim

Professor Ingrid Winship (Melbourne Health)

Dr Aung Ko Win



Research Group

Colorectal Cancer

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (including cancer), and promotion of mental health, Screening and early detection of disease

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics

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