Individuals with a strong family history have a high risk of developing colorectal cancer.
They could well benefit from targeted screening and their increased risk warrants an invasive procedure such as colonoscopy.
Dr Williams and colleagues assessed the anxieties of symptom-free relatives offered screening by colonoscopy.
The researchers sent a simple questionnaire to 50 consecutive people who had colorectal cancer screening by colonoscopy because of a strong family history.
The research team reported that 45 questionnaires were answered.
On assessing their anxiety levels before and after colonoscopy, 56% noticed an improvement after the test.
|44% of screened relatives had no improvement of their anxieties|
The researchers found that 33% were still as anxious, and 11% had raised anxiety levels despite screening.
Although most of the screening colonoscopies were normal, 44% of asymptomatic screened relatives had no improvement of their cancer anxieties.
Dr Williams and colleagues concluded, “Screening people with a strong family history of colorectal cancer may be an efficient, cost-effective and a focused way of detecting early neoplasms rather than screening the general population.”
“Using colonoscopy alone however, a large proportion of people still have cancer anxieties after being screened.”
“This small study suggests that in order to attempt to alleviate anxieties, a colonoscopy alone is insufficient for some in this high-risk group.”