Study: High rate of persons at elevated risk not getting colorectal screening

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Research performed in Spain found that a low rate of close relatives of persons with colorectal cancer are not getting the screenings they should. First-degree relatives have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than other individuals without a family history. Results from the EPICOLON study in Spain were published in the March issue of the journal Gut.

The general guidelines for screening colonoscopy are for persons to begin receiving the exams at the age of 50, or 10 years younger than a person’s youngest relative diagnosed with the illness.

The researchers studied 74 patients with colorectal cancer and determined the rate of screening colonoscopy in 342 first-degree relatives. They found that just 38 percent had undergone screening colonoscopy. Instances of compliance elevated when there additional family member diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Certain factors elevated compliance in some instances. The rate was 60 percent if a family member was 65 or younger, but dropped to 33 percent if the relative with the disease was older than that.

Sexual orientation also was a factor, for instance if the first-degree family member was a woman the rate was 46 percent, while the rate dipped to 31 percent if the relative was male.