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New educational booklet helps patients prepare for a colonoscopy
Date:4/12/2011

UCLA and Veterans Affairs researchers have developed an educational booklet that can help patients better prepare for a colonoscopy, potentially saving their lives. One out of every 16 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer, the leading non-smokingrelated cancer killer in the U.S.

Most patients survive colon cancer if the cancer is found early, and a colonoscopy is the only test that can identify and remove polyps from the entire colon. However, the effectiveness of the procedure depends as much on what happens in the hours before the patient comes in for the exam as it does on the skill of the health care team.

Patients scheduled to undergo the test receive instructions on how to empty their colon by using purgative medications and following rigid dietary restrictions. Good preparation helps the doctors clearly see the colon walls during the procedure and improves their ability to identify polyps. But up to a quarter of patients still undergo the exam with inadequate bowel preparation, which can limit the effectiveness of the procedure and lead to missed polyps and incomplete or aborted procedures.

"For the technicians performing a colonoscopy, a clean colon is like driving along a country road with a clear sky and the sun shining," said Dr. Brennan M.R. Spiegel, study author and director of the UCLAVA Center for Outcomes Research and Education. "A dirty colon is like driving through a snow storm with very limited visibility. Good preparation before a colonoscopy is key to a successful procedure."

Reporting in the April 12 online edition of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, the UCLAVA team addressed these concerns by first asking patients what information would help them better prepare for a colonoscopy. Based on these findings, the team developed a user-friendly booklet that was then tested with patients.

"Unlike every other screening test in medicine, the ability of the colonoscopy to reduc
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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