, Volume 58, Issue 7, pp 1841-1848
Date: 31 Jan 2013

Screening Patterns in Patients with a Family History of Colorectal Cancer Often Do Not Adhere to National Guidelines

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Currently, there are no data on adherence to guidelines for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening in patients with a family history.


We conducted a retrospective study to assess if such patients were being appropriately screened according to American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) guidelines.


Two independent reviewers performed a comprehensive medical record review of family and CRC screening history on 362 adults with a family history of CRC in a first-degree relative who had recently undergone screening colonoscopy. The endpoint was appropriate initiation of screening and endoscopist-recommended subsequent screening intervals, as compared to AGA guideline recommendations.


Of 362 subjects, only 146 (40.3 %) were screened appropriately; 213 (58.9 %) had late initiation of screening (i.e., screening was started ≥5 years later than the age recommended by guidelines) and three (0.8 %) had premature initiation (i.e., screening was started ≥1 year too early). Of cases involving delayed screening initiation, 126 were not under primary care at the time when screening was supposed to have started, while most of the remaining received either no or incorrect screening recommendations from their primary care provider. Of 270 subjects with no neoplasia found on initial screening, 112 (41.5 %) had endoscopist-recommended subsequent screening intervals that were ≥2 years shorter than that recommended by guidelines. Results were similar if American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy or American College of Gastroenterology guidelines were used.


Patients with a family history often suffer from late initiation of screening and overly short endoscopist-recommended subsequent intervals for colonoscopy. Further education of patients and providers on screening recommendations may be helpful.