Saturday, June 15, 2024

Examining Colorectal Cancer Policies in Central, Eastern European, and South Caucasus Countries

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In the regions of Central, Eastern Europe, and the South Caucasus, colorectal cancer (CRC) presents a significant public health concern, particularly among women, where it stands as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. This study focuses on the availability and comprehensiveness of CRC policies in these regions, assessing their alignment with World Health Organization guidelines and identifying gaps that need to be addressed for more effective prevention and early detection.

Methodology and Approach

The research utilized the Arksey and O’Malley scoping review methodology to analyze publicly available CRC policy documents from 18 countries. The study examined prevention strategies and activities, highlighting how each country implements CRC screening based on WHO recommendations. By examining a range of policies, the study aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of the current landscape and identify areas needing improvement.

Key Findings

The study revealed that the majority of countries have at least five CRC-related policies, focusing on primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention measures. Common elements within these policies include promoting healthy lifestyles and implementing various screening methods such as fecal occult blood tests, fecal immunochemical tests, and colonoscopies. However, the target age ranges for screening varied significantly across different countries. The findings underscored the urgent need to increase the availability and utilization of CRC screening procedures across the studied regions.

Implications and Recommendations

Despite the presence of policies, there are significant variations in their comprehensiveness and implementation. The study emphasizes the necessity of standardized and more detailed science-based policies for CRC prevention and screening. Future research should aim to understand the actual implementation and enforcement of these policies, as well as their impact on cancer incidence and survival rates.

Concrete Actions for Improvement

  • Develop standardized CRC screening protocols to be adapted by each country based on their specific needs.
  • Increase public awareness campaigns to promote the importance of regular CRC screenings.
  • Allocate resources for training healthcare professionals in the latest CRC screening and prevention techniques.
  • Conduct periodic evaluations of the effectiveness of implemented CRC policies and adjust them as necessary.
  • Facilitate international collaborations to share best practices and improve policy frameworks.

Results and Social Implications

The effectiveness of CRC policies in the Central, Eastern European, and South Caucasus regions varies widely, influenced by resource availability, public awareness, and political commitment. The study highlights the need for ongoing research to determine the most effective approaches for CRC prevention and to ensure that robust policies are in place to mitigate the disease’s impact. A better understanding of these complex policy frameworks will enable countries to update and tailor their strategies more effectively, ultimately improving population health outcomes.

Original Article: J Health Organ Manag. 2024 May 28;ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print). doi: 10.1108/JHOM-02-2023-0030.

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