Patients at High Colon Cancer Risk Often Unscreened

Many patients and relatives with familial adenomatous polyposis lack insurance for screening

MONDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Despite their need for colon cancer screening, patients with familial adenomatous polyposis and their close relatives frequently fail to get such screening or genetic counseling, often due to a lack of insurance coverage, according to the results of a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Anita Y. Kinney, Ph.D., of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues surveyed 150 patients from 71 families with familial adenomatous polyposis.

The researchers found that only 42 percent of at-risk relatives and 54 percent of subjects with a history of familial adenomatous polyposis had recently undergone colon cancer screening. Those who had not had recent screening believed they did not have a higher-than-average risk of colorectal cancer (odds ratio, 3.1), lacked health insurance or had health insurance that did not cover colorectal cancer surveillance (OR, 3.6), or did not remember physicians recommending colon cancer screening (OR, 4.8).

"Despite the known benefits of colorectal cancer surveillance, a substantial proportion of familial adenomatous polyposis family members did not have a recent colonoscopy or endoscopy," the authors write. "Interventions targeted at both clinicians and patients are needed to improve surveillance behavior."

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