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Reform Support

Implementation of the European guidelines for colorectal cancer screening

Implementation of the European guidelines for colorectal cancer screening

The Commission supports Romania in creating the conditions for designing and running colorectal cancer screening campaigns for the whole population. With the support of the Italian Cancer Screening Observatory, the Commission helped to train senior managers and policymakers, retrain on-the-job endoscopists and pathologists, design a communication campaign and launch screening pilot programmes in line with the European guidelines.  

Context 

In most European countries – including Romania – colorectal cancer is a very common form of cancer, both in terms of number of cases and mortality. However, if the cancer is detected in its early stages, typically through consistent and coordinated screening programmes, mortality can be significantly reduced. The European Union adopted scientifically sound guidelines for effective cancer screening.  

Romania does not have a national programme for colorectal cancer screening, and therefore cannot perform effective policy actions in this field. Many health professionals were still not familiar with recommended screening techniques, and the population lacked awareness of the benefits of cancer prevention. 

Support delivered   

The Italian Cancer Screening Observatory (ISPRO and CPO) organised and delivered training to public official and health managers to design screening programmes and develop quality indicators. The Observatory also created retraining modules for endoscopists and pathologists and fostered integration between the two groups. Furthermore, the project supported the development of an effective communication campaign to increase awareness and participation in cancer screening. Finally, the project health defined and launched a screening pilot programme in Romania based on the best European experiences and followed  European quality assurance guidelines for colorectal cancer screening. 

Results achieved  

The project developed a model for retraining and clinical audit, to improve and maintain clinical competence. It created retraining modules to be used as a support for continuous quality improvement efforts, including additional capacity building initiatives for the extension of screening programmes across the country. Through the assistance given by the project, Romania started to develop a screening registry and a comprehensive Action Plan to foster the four national pilot screening programmes. Finally, Romania managed to design and launch a screening pilot programme based on the best European experiences and followed  European quality assurance guidelines for colorectal cancer screening.