Information for Histopathologists

Page last updated: 18 November 2019

Combined Colonoscopy and Histopathology Report (PDF 106 KB)

Combined Colonoscopy and Histopathology Report

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (Program) is an Australian Government initiative administered by the Commonwealth Department of Health. It aims to help detect bowel cancer early and reduce the number of Australians who die each year from the disease. Measuring the effectiveness of the Program and monitoring its performance relies on voluntary provision of data to the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) by health professionals.

This report supports data collection of colonoscopy investigations and the pathology results of biopsies taken at the time of examination. The report has been endorsed through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program’s Program Advisory Group and by GESA.

The report is available in both hard-copy (paper) and electronic versions. It allows the colonoscopist to generate a partially pre-populated Histopathology Report (patient details, colonoscopist diagnosis and findings), which can be sent to the laboratory with biopsy specimens collected during the colonoscopy procedure.

The electronic version of the report is available on the Program section of the Cancer Screening website. SmartForm technology allows you to complete the report on your computer and submit it to the NCSR online.

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

4. 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 Program.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Can I submit this report electronically?

Yes. You can access the electronic version through the Program website Cancer Screening. The electronic version of the report can be saved, printed and submitted to the NCSR electronically. You can find instructions on using and submitting the electronic version of the forms.

9. 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 NCSR.

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