In this study, doctors from Sweden assessed genetic counseling followed by a surveillance program using colonoscopy in individuals with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
|The mean score for perceived benefit was 8.|
|Journal of Clinical Oncology|
The team mailed a questionnaire to 265 individuals who were participating in a surveillance program with colonoscopy. The questionnaire assessed patients' experience of the surveillance program and their perception of the risk of colorectal cancer.
Overall, 240 individuals completed the questionnaire.
The team divided them into risk groups:
- Group 1 = an individual with a mutation in hMLH1 or hMSH2 and a lifetime colorectal cancer risk of 80% (n = 28).
- Group 2 = a lifetime colorectal cancer risk of 40% (n = 129).
- Group 3 = a lifetime colorectal cancer risk of 20% (n = 83).
For all individuals, the team found that the mean score for perceived benefit was 8, and the perception of discomfort was 3.3 on the visual analog scale (1 to 10).
They found that 61% of patients in group 1 underestimated personal risks as being 40% or less.
About 50% of the subjects in groups 2 and 3 either under- or overestimated their lifetime risk.
Dr Liljegren's team concluded, "A majority of the study sample understood why they were under surveillance, and regular colonoscopies were well-tolerated".
"The wide range of risk perception as well as low-risk perception in mutation positive subjects is acceptable, as long as these individuals adhere to surveillance programs and do not demonstrate increased levels of anxiety or depression".