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Study Shows Lack of Knowledge about Colonoscopy among High-Risk Patients

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in America. More than 90% of colorectal cancer patients are more than 50 years old.

The risk factors for colon cancer include:

  • Advanced colorectal polyps
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Genetic syndrome (like Lynch syndrome)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Family history of colon cancer.

Patients with advanced polyps have a three times higher risk of getting colorectal cancer. The recommended intervention for the cancer is a 3-year follow up of colonoscopy.

Unfortunately, physicians rely on self-report from patients to decide the need for intervention and the proper treatment. The most common ways for screening colon cancer include flexible sigmoidoscopy, fecal immune testing, colonoscopy, and multi-targeted stool DNA test.

Data from self-reports is scanty and unreliable. Therefore, clinicians should be willing and able to share their objective findings with the patient’s clinical care team.

Researchers conducted a study between 2013 to 2017 to analyze patients’ knowledge of proven advanced colorectal polyps. According to the results, 12% did not know they needed a follow-up surveillance colonoscopy.

Also, 28.6% did not know the proper surveillance interval or the need for a repeat colonoscopy. 16.6% did not know the suitable 3-year interval for the follow-up colonoscopy.

Although colorectal cancer is more common in people above 55 years than in young people, the incidence is increasing for people below 55 years. The American Society for cancer reports that between 2007 and 2016, colon cancer incidence in people younger than 55 went up by 2%. For people older than 55, the incidence was reduced by 3.6%.

If the strategy is followed, there will be no over utilization of colonoscopies for patients with low risk. It would also increase the benefit-to-cost and benefit-to-risk ratio from the perspective of public health. Researchers confirm that the strategies would also have an impact on public and clinical health.

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