Navigation Links
Colon Screenings Don't Follow Guidelines, Study Suggests
Date:4/6/2009

VA study shows elderly ill men getting same screenings as healthy folks,,,,

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Despite clear guidelines recommending that older people undergo a colonoscopy only if they expect to live at least four more years, a new study reveals that seriously ill elderly men in the United States are being screened for colon cancer on par with healthy people.

The finding specifically reflects the experiences of men seeking care from a U.S. Veteran Affairs hospital, but it suggests that screening practices in general might not hone closely to American Cancer Society protocols.

"Basically what we found is that, regardless of an elderly individual's health, the more often he goes to the doctor, the more likely it is he is going to get a colonoscopy, whether or not it's appropriate," said the study's lead author, Dr. Louise C. Walter, from the geriatrics division at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

"The problem could reflect a larger systems issue, in that, on the one hand, if you're older and well, very likely you're not seeing physicians often and not getting a colonoscopy screening when it could be very beneficial," she added. "On the flip side, when seniors get sick, they have many more medical visits and are more prone to getting a lot of stuff done to them -- including colonoscopies -- that can actually be harmful and distracting from the real problems at hand."

The study is in the April 7 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Current Cancer Society guidelines suggest that after age 50, men and women with an average risk for developing colorectal cancer should be screened to uncover early signs of the disease. Options include a colonoscopy once every 10 years or one of three procedures -- a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a virtual colonoscopy or a double-contrast barium enema procedure -- that should be done every five years. Various yearly stool analyses are also available.

However, health experts point out that elderly people with serious or even terminal illnesses might not derive practical benefit from the identification and treatment of colon cancer, which is why colonoscopies are not recommended if a person's life expectancy is not more than four years.

To gauge adherence to such advice, Walter and her colleagues reviewed the records of 27,068 men, 70 and older, who had been cared for between 2001 and 2002 at four VA centers.

Though only 46 percent of them had been screened for colon cancer during this time, the researchers found some degree of under-screening and over-screening.

For example, 47 percent of men with a life expectancy of more than five years and no serious health complications had been screened, but 41 percent of men with severe illness and less than a five-year life expectancy were also screened.

In fact, the study found, these ill elderly men were just as likely, or even more likely, than their healthy counterparts to be screened for colon cancer if they had visited a VA facility four or more times.

The researchers pointed out that their findings might not reflect the state of affairs outside the VA hospital system, and that some screening procedures might have been performed for reasons other than to identify colon cancer.

But they suggested that more attention be paid to how such screenings are administered among seniors.

"It's not like we're doing too little or too much," Walter said. "But colon cancer screening rates need to be higher in healthy older people and lower in older sicker people. And to achieve that, we have to be more thoughtful about who's getting what and try and target it a little bit better."

Dr. George Chang, an assistant professor of surgical oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said the findings and analysis "certainly make a lot of sense," but he called the situation complex.

"There are a lot of potential explanations for colonoscopy patterns, and not all screenings are conducted for the same reason," he said. "For example, seniors are often tested for anemia -- having a low blood count -- and in that case, a colonoscopy is commonly used as a diagnostic tool to establish that condition, not as a screen for cancer. And this distinction may not be indicated in the data this study used."

"However, I agree in spirit with what the author is saying here," Chang added. "The last thing you want to do is to generally discourage getting a colonoscopy. Overall, the message has to be that screening is important, and we should all encourage it. But it doesn't mean that patients should get screening beyond the time it would be beneficial. And there is no need to have a colonoscopy for someone who does not have a lengthy life expectancy."

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on cancer screening guidelines.



SOURCES: Louise C. Walter, M.D., division of geriatrics, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, San Francisco, and associate professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco; George Chang, M.D., assistant professor, surgical oncology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; April 7, 2009, Annals of Internal Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Diet high in meat, fat and refined grains linked to risk for colon cancer recurrence, death
2. Coloring Compound in Fruits, Veggies May Cut Colon Cancer Risk
3. Gastroenterology sets standards for CT colonography
4. Experts Compare Colon Cancer Treatment Outcomes
5. Doctors Office Outreach Boosts Colon Cancer Screening
6. Jefferson researchers find personalized interventions key to improving colon cancer screening rates
7. Molecular profiling can accurately predict survival in colon cancer patients
8. Study Links Coronary Disease, Colon Cancer
9. Fecal Blood Tests Effective at Spotting Colon Cancer
10. Produce for Better Health Foundation Releases Statement on Study Saying Fruit & Vegetable Consumption Not Strongly Associated With Colon Cancer Risk
11. Study makes progress in zoning in on biomarkers for better colon cancer treatment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Colon Screenings Don't Follow Guidelines, Study Suggests
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced ... feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a ... has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood shifts ... upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a knife ... and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 ... by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of ... honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to announce ... program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort Keepers ... of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is one ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Plano, TX (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... taking part in Genome magazine’s Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients ... for an award to be presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets ... Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report to ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, Composite ... Structural electronics involves electronic and/or electrical components and ... dumb structures such as vehicle bodies or conformally ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , June 24, 2016  American ... function testing company, is now able to perform sophisticated lung assessments ... ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. Patients are no ...  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® , ARL patients like Jeanne ... needed testing done in the comfort of her own home. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... --  Pulmatrix, Inc ., (NASDAQ: PULM ), ... today that it was added to the Russell Microcap ... set of U.S. and global equity indexes on June ... for Pulmatrix," said Chief Executive Officer Robert Clarke ... in developing drugs for crucial unmet medical needs, and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: