The data presented in this report demonstrates that there is variation in outcomes between colorectal cancer screening programs across Canada, but nationally there are many successes, as well as opportunities for improvement.
- Population-wide participation is getting closer to the 60% target in all jurisdictions, and the stage distribution of cases detected through screening demonstrates that programs are having the expected impact of finding cancer earlier.
- Wait times to follow-up colonoscopy have improved throughout the country, but they are still long, and no jurisdiction is meeting the target for 90% of people to have a follow-up colonoscopy within 60 days.
- The youngest age groups eligible for colorectal cancer screening are falling behind in participation, and there is a need to engage these age groups to recruit them to participate in colorectal cancer screening.
- Data are not readily available to help us understand disparities in colorectal cancer screening among different population groups, including First Nations, Inuit, and Metis, and rural and remote populations. Improving data collection across the country would help with understanding and developing strategies to address barriers to participating in screening.
- The COVID-19 pandemic will have significant impact on cancer screening programs. Jurisdictions will need to plan for short-term outcomes, like missed screening, and longer-term outcomes, like missed and more advanced cancers, and will need to address the widening disparities during the COVID-19 recovery period.