Secondary prevention

The Secondary prevention area carries out a wide and diverse set of activities, with the primary purpose of detecting cancer at an early stage and before symptoms onset in order to allow a more timely and effective treatment.

Secondary prevention is performed through so-called “screening programs”, diagnostic strategies aimed at those population groups considered to be most at risk of developing a certain disease.

Sound scientific evidence is available on the effectiveness of breast, cervix and colorectal cancer screening programs in decreasing cause-specific mortality (and, for cervical and colorectal cancer, incidence as well).

Screening programs are part of the Livelli Essenziali di Assistenza (Essential Level of Care, LEA), i.e. facilities and services that the Italian National Health System (SSN) is required to provide to the citizens for free, or on payment of a (small) prescription charge.

The European Commission has recommended the constitution in all member States of organised screening programs with quality assurance procedures and aimed at all target populations. For each of the three screening programs (breast, cervix and colorectal cancer), the European Commission has also published specific guidelines which have been drafted with large contribution of CPO Piemonte.

The regional screening program for female and colorectal cancers called Serena Prevention defines process and quality indicators, assigning the following tasks to the CPO:

  • set up, management, monitoring, evaluation and research activities related to the regional programs of cancer screening;
  • programming, computerization, training of operators, quality assurance;
  • methodological support to the Regional Health Units for planning and implementation of primary and secondary prevention interventions;
  • support to the Coordination Committee for the Regional Screening in Oncology for the implementation of the assigned tasks;
  • personnel training and quality control activity for diagnostics resulting from screening activity.

The CPO Piemonte, in addition to being a collaborative center of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in defining international guidelines on cancer, actively participates in national and international research projects for the evaluation of screening programs effectiveness and quality; these initiatives are funded ad hoc by international agencies such as IARC, the European Union, the Ministry of Health and other research institutions.

To access the open data section dedicated to the screening click here.

Normative references

  • DGR n. 12-7042 del 27 gennaio 2014 "Individuazione dei Centri regionali di riferimento per la formazione degli operatori e l'assicurazione di qualità nello screening dei tumori della mammella, della cervice uterina e del colonretto nell'ambito del Programma Regionale Prevenzione Serena (...)"
  • DGR n. 21-5705 del 23 aprile 2013 "Approvazione della modifica del programma regionale di screening oncologico, "Prevenzione Serena" per i tumori della cervice uterina (...)"
  • DGR n. 111-3632 del 2 agosto 2006 "(...) Approvazione del nuovo programma regionale di screening per i tumori femminili e per i tumori del colonretto, denominato "Prevenzione Serena"