Information for Histopathologists

Page last updated: 09 January 2015

PDF version: New Combined Colonoscopy and Histopathology Report (PDF 271 KB)

New Combined Colonoscopy and Histopathology Report

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) is an Australian Government initiative administered by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) to help detect bowel cancer early and reduce the number of Australians who die each year from the disease.

Earlier this year the Australian Government announced expansion of the Program. From July 2013 the Program will be expanded to invite people turning 60 years of age, and in 2015 those turning 70 will be added. The Program will be further expanded in 2017-18, when a phased implementation of two-yearly screening will commence.

Measuring the effectiveness of the Program and monitoring its performance relies on voluntary provision of data to the Program Register by health professionals.

In order to improve data collection rates, ease the administration burden and boost the quality of reporting, a two-year review of existing reporting mechanisms was undertaken by DoHA, consulting with a representative of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) and pathologists/histopathologists from across Australia, to produce a new Colonoscopy and Histopathology Report .

This report supports streamlined data collection of colonoscopy investigations and the pathology results of biopsies taken at the time of examination and has been endorsed through the NBCSP’s Program Advisory Group and by the RCPA. Top of page

The report has been piloted at a number of sites to solve any problems prior to its introduction and to make the process of lodging data with the NBCSP Register fast and easy. For pathologists, the new report provides simplified reporting and enables the collection of more complete data.

The new report allows colonoscopists to partially pre-populate the histopathology section of the report, which can be sent to the laboratory with biopsy specimens collected during the colonoscopy procedure. This should significantly reduce the time required for pathologists’ to provide important histopathology data to the NBCSP Register.

The report will be available in both hard-copy (paper) and electronic versions. The electronic version of the new report will be available on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program section of the website, Cancer Screening, by the end of October 2012. SmartForm technology, allows you to complete the report on your computer and submit it to the Program Register online if you wish.

A separate Histopathology Resection Report has been developed using the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) 7th edition TNM codes. This new report cannot be introduced until changes are made to the NBCSP Register. Resection samples will still be reported using the original histopathology report until changes to the NBCSP Register have been made.

Questions about the new report can be sent by email to NBCSP at Department of Health. Top of page

Frequently Asked Questions about the Colonoscopy and Histopathology Report

1. Why has the new report been introduced and combined to include colonoscopy and histology biopsy reporting in one report?


To improve the collection of colonoscopy and histopathology data from colonoscopic biopsies by simplifying the reporting process. The new report collects a more complete set of data for colonoscopic outcomes.

2. Why is histopathology data important?

Because the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program exists to reduce the impact of bowel cancer. To assess effectiveness of the Program it is vital that the number of bowel cancers detected be identified. It is histopathology data that confirms the detection of bowel cancer and its stage.

3. Can I send the laboratory report instead of completing the report?

No. The Register does not accept copies of pathology reports, as there is no capacity to accurately and consistently interpret the report.

4. What about resection data?

A separate Histopathology Resection Report has been developed using the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) 7th edition TNM codes. This new report cannot be introduced until changes are made to the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Register. Until that change can be made, resection data can be provided using the corresponding section original histopathology report. Top of page

5. How do I code intramucosal carcinoma/carcinoma in situ?

If there is no submucosal invasion, this equates to severe dysplasia and should be coded as such. For example Intramucosal carcinoma and carcinoma-in-situ will not be recorded as a colorectal cancer in the NBCSP.

6. Has the profession been consulted?

Yes. The pathology component of the coding system has been developed in consultation with pathologists. The coding system used for pathology results has been endorsed by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA). The report was piloted in an operational environment to correct any problems before the report was released for general use.

7. Why is it easier to use?

Because if the colonoscopist has completed the colonoscopy portion of the report and sends page 3 with the specimen/s, you only need to complete section 9a which uses a simplified coding system to record results and section 10 of the report which identifies the pathologist.

8. Why has a coding system been introduced?

To make it easier to provide the data and to provide more complete data in a standardised and consistent manner. Coding also reduces the time taken to complete the report.

9. Can I submit this report electronically?

Yes. You can choose to access an electronic version of the report through the Program website Cancer Screening. You just need to ensure you have Adobe Reader Version 8.1 or later. The electronic version of the report can be saved, printed or submitted to the Program Register electronically. You can choose to send the printed copy of this report by mail or facsimile if you wish. Top of page

10. Can I save the electronic version of the report with common information recorded (e.g. your name and provider number) and reuse the report?


No. At this time you need to download a new report each time you wish to lodge information with the Program Register.

11. Do I get an information payment when I complete the colonoscopy part of the report?

Yes. The pathologist will receive an information payment when the pathology section of the report is completed and lodged with the Program Register. Further information is available on the Program website Cancer Screening.

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