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National Cancer Institute   U.S. National Institutes of
Rapid Response Surveillance Studies
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 Methodologic Issues
 Cancer Treatment & Outcomes
 Monitoring Screening Practices
 Health Behaviors & Risk Factors
 Linking Databases
 Technical Aspects of Registry Operations

Monitoring Screening Practices

Screening is a key aspect of cancer control. Screening surveillance is performed to evaluate, monitor, and improve screening programs and practices in order to increase the early detection rates of cancer. The RRSS initiative has funded a variety of studies to monitor screening.

RRSS investigators are conducting pilot/feasibility studies to:

  • evaluate the feasibility of developing a population-based mammography surveillance system to evaluate the quality of breast cancer screening;
  • assess the diffusion of Spiral Computed Tomography (CT), which may be able to detect lung cancer at an early, curable stage;
  • examine issues surrounding colorectal cancer screening, including:
    • the use of sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy tests;
    • the population effects of colorectal cancer screening, specifically flexible sigmoidoscopy; and
    • the methods of obtaining colorectal cancer screening history;
  • monitor prostate cancer screening, including:
    • the use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests; and
    • the experience of men following a negative prostate biopsy, including their exposure to subsequent PSA screening, needle biopsies, diagnosis of prostate cancer, and treatment.

Registries Funded to Conduct these Studies

Detroit (Metropolitan)
Los Angeles
New Mexico
Northern California Cancer Center (SF-OAK)
Seattle (Puget Sound)

Key Findings

Investigators determine that it was feasible to link cancer registries with mammography facilities to investigate the quality of screening programs.

The establishment of a Colorectal Cancer Screening database using electronic records proved more difficult than anticipated because investigators were unable to determine from these records whether the sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy was for screening or diagnostic purposes. The database of patients having sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy was subsequently linked to a SEER cancer registry.

Future Use

Research in this area led to the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) (UO1 (Cooperative Agreement)). The BCSC enhances the understanding of breast cancer screening practices, the quality of screening programs and impact on breast cancer stage and survival. Findings will improve the quality of mammography for women in the US.


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