Cancer contributes significantly to the burden of illness in the Australian community. Bowel cancer is one of the most significant cancer types in terms of incidence and mortality. In 2010, 14,860 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer and in 2011 there were 3,999 deaths from the disease. Screening for bowel cancer is available in Australia through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), which aims to reduce the incidence, illness and mortality related to bowel cancer through screening to detect cancers and pre-cancerous lesions in their early stages, when treatment is most successful.

Reporting statistics about the NBCSP in a standardised way is vital to ensure that governments, researchers and health workers have access to relevant and reliable statistics about the performance of the program over time. This report describes the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Performance Indicator Set (NBCSP PIs) and is a reference tool for anyone who wishes to understand, measure and report the progress of bowel cancer screening in Australia.

The indicators were developed by the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Report and Indicator Working Group (the working group) and have been endorsed by the Standing Committee on Screening, the Community Care and Population Health Principal Committee, the National Health Information Standards and Statistics Committee and the National Health Information and Performance Principal Committee. The indicators are consistent with the five Australian Population Based Screening Framework (PBSF) steps of recruitment, screening, assessment, diagnosis and outcomes.

This report outlines both the development process and the technical specification for the 11 agreed indicators that are part of the NBCSP PIs. This report also identifies data sources and any future data development.

Table S.1: NBCSP performance indicators

PBSF step PBSF aim NBCSP performance indicator
Recruitment Targeted population encouraged to participate in screening 01—Participation rate
Screening   Targeted population who participate in screening 02—Screening positivity rate
Assessment Screened population who require  further assessment  03—Diagnostic assessment rate
    04—Time between positive screen and diagnostic assessment
Diagnosis Assessed participants diagnosed with the condition 05a—Adenoma detection rate
    05b—The positive predictive value of diagnostic assessment for detecting adenoma
    06a—Colorectal cancer detection rate
    06b—The positive predictive value of diagnostic assessment for detecting colorectal cancer
    07—Interval cancer rate
    08—Cancer clinic-pathological stage distribution
Outcomes  Reduced morbidity and mortality from the condition 09—Adverse events—hospital admission
    10—Incidence of colorectal cancer
    11—Mortality from colorectal cancer