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Screenings for colorectal cancer ‘woefully underutilized’: survey

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Cleveland – More than one-third of people 50 and older are not up to date on recommended colorectcal cancer screenings, according to the results of a survey conducted by Cleveland Clinic.

Researchers – seeking to provide information about colorectal cancer risk based on self-reported personal and family history of colorectal cancer and polyps – gave more than 27,000 participants questionnaires that asked for information on personal/family history of colorectal cancer/polyps, screening history, personal demographics, physical dimensions, and dietary/exercise/smoking habits.

They found that only 36 percent of participants were up to date with current colorectal screening, and that participants who had an immediate family member with colorectal cancer and polyps (35.7 percent) were more likely to get screenings.

“Physicians get a better understanding of the demographic of individuals who have decreased participation in colorectal cancer screening: male gender, non-white ethnicity, smoking history, higher BMI, lower intake of plant-based diet, and reduced physical activity level,” Dr. Carol Burke, president of the American College of Gastroenterology and a Cleveland Clinic physician, said in a press release. “These results may help them target those patients and encourage them to get screened."

Results also showed that people who exercise at least two hours per week, do not smoke and eat healthy are less likely to have a history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps.

“Colon cancer is a preventable disease,” Burke said. “These results emphasize the known modifiable factors that can alter the risk. Colon cancer has had significant decline in the U.S. since 1980 when colorectal cancer screening was first introduced, but these results show screening for the disease – and adherence to a healthy lifestyle – appear woefully underutilized.”

Researchers presented their findings May 7 at Digestive Disease Week 2017.

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