Periodic colonoscopy is an effective means of reducing the incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer in individuals with a family history of the disease.
Dr Bleiker and colleagues from Amsterdam, The Netherlands undertook a study in order to determine the degree of compliance and to identify the factors related significantly to noncompliance with periodic screening in this high-risk population.
The researchers invited a total of 178 individuals to complete a self-report questionnaire on psychosocial issues and screening experiences.
These individuals had undergone genetic counseling for colorectal cancer between 1986 and 1998.
In addition, those patients had been advised to undergo periodic screening because of familial colorectal cancer (FCRC) or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
| Noncompliance with screening advice was rare - 3% of cases|
The researchers collated compliance data from medical records and via self-report from a total of 149 individuals (84%) who participated in the study.
The researchers found that noncompliance with screening advice was rare (in 3% of cases), but they observed significant delays (more than 1 year) in undergoing screening in approximately 25% of the cases.
The research team noted that the number of perceived barriers to screening (eg, discomfort, embarrassment) was the only variable related significantly to noncompliance/screening delay.
Use of sedatives during the procedure and receipt of a reminder letter seemed to facilitate better compliance.
Dr Bleiker concluded, "Although few high-risk individuals abstain from screening entirely, approximately 1 in 4 deviates significantly from the recommended frequency of screening."
"Increased compliance may be achieved by reducing the discomfort and embarrassment associated with the procedure and by the use of reminder letters."