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News

Communicating colorectal cancer risk to first-degree relatives of patients

A study in the most recent issue of the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology examines how the increased risk of colorectal cancer risk to first-degree relatives of patients communicated.

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Compared with the general population, first-degree relatives of colorectal cancer patients have a 2-fold to 4-fold higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Little data is available regarding communication between doctors and colorectal cancer patients about risk to first-degree relatives.

Dr Michael Sullz and colleagues evaluated colorectal cancer patients’ knowledge of first-degree relatives increased colorectal cancer risk, and first-degree relatives’ knowledge of this risk and adherence to colorectal cancer screening.

In this retrospective, single-center, population-based observational study, patients aged 18–80 years who underwent surgery for colorectal cancer between 2005 and 2010 were asked to complete a questionnaire.

A questionnaire sent to the patients’ first-degree relatives asked whether they had been advised to undergo any colorectal cancer screening examination, whether they had done so, and if so, when initiated and by whom.

Among first-degree relatives, 85% were informed about their increased colorectal cancer risk
European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

The team's main outcome measurements included colorectal cancer patients’ and their first-degree relatives' information status regarding the first-degree relatives increased colorectal cancer risk and screening status.

Of 343 index patients, the team reported that 134 replied to the survey.

Among index patients, the research team found that 82% were informed about first-degree relatives' increased colorectal cancer risk.

This information was provided mainly by gastroenterologists and general practitioners.

Among first-degree relatives, 85% were informed about their increased colorectal cancer risk, but 69% did not undergo a screening colonoscopy.

Among the first-degree relatives more than 50 years of age, the team noted that 41% did not undergo a screening colonoscopy.

Dr Sullz's team concludes, "In Switzerland, colorectal cancer patients and their first-degree relatives are well informed about first-degree relatives increased colorectal cancer risk."

"However, the majority of first-degree relatives do not undergo the recommended colorectal cancer screening."

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014: 26(2): 222-228
29 January 2014

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