People with genetic predictors of colorectal cancer are not getting screened

February 22, 2007

Salt Lake City, Ut. - February 22, 2007 - Even when diagnosed with a condition that is a strong genetic predictor of colorectal cancer, many patients do not seek out genetic counseling or cancer screening. According to a recent study in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, counseling and screening rates could be improved if physicians provided stronger encouragement and more complete information about the benefits of screening to their patients.

"We studied families with a history of familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition that very often leads to colorectal cancer," says study author Dr. Anita Kinney. "Unfortunately, only about half of those diagnosed with the condition had been tested for cancer recently, and even fewer of their at-risk relatives had been screened." According to Kinney, the strongest predictors of whether or not these patients seek out testing or counseling was their understanding of the benefits of screening, and their physician's recommendation to do so.

Even though the benefits of early detection in preventing cancer death are well known, this information is not necessarily reaching patients. According to Kinney, "education and other intervention efforts, directed at both members of at-risk families and physicians, are needed to enhance the use of cancer surveillance programs appropriate for the disease and level of risk."
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This study is published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Dr. Anita Yeomans Kinney is a researcher at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, affiliated with the School of Medicine at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. She can be reached for questions at anita.kinney@hci.utah.edu.

The American Journal of Gastroenterology is the official publication of the American College of Gastroenterology. Aimed at practicing clinicians, the journal's articles deal directly with the disorders seen most often in patients. The journal brings a broad-based, interdisciplinary approach to the study of gastroenterology, including articles reporting on current observations, research results, methods of treatment, drugs, epidemiology, and other topics relevant to clinical gastroenterology. For more information, please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com/ajg.

The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) was founded in 1932 to advance the scientific study and medical practice of diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The College promotes the highest standards in medical education and is guided by its commitment to meeting the individual and collective needs of clinical GI practitioners. For more information, please visit www.acg.gi.org.

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