Clinicians adjust colorectal cancer screening methods based on patient preferences, Mayo Clinic study finds

While colonoscopy is the most recommended screening method for colorectal cancers, clinicians often offer alternatives if patients are unwilling to undergo the invasive procedure, a Mayo Clinic study published Dec. 14 found.

Researchers administered an online survey to 779 primary care physicians and 159 gastroenterologists across the U.S. between Nov. 6 to Dec. 6, 2019, to assess colorectal cancer screening preferences.

Colonoscopy was the preferred option for average-risk patients, favored by 96.9 percent of gastroenterologists and 75.7 percent of primary care clinicians. Around 12.2 percent of primary care providers preferred multi-target stool DNA, followed by fecal immunochemical and guaiac-based fecal occult blood tests. 

Preference among both clinician types generally shifted toward noninvasive screening options for patients who were unable to undergo invasive procedures; concerned about taking time from work; unconvinced about need for screening; and refused other screening recommendations.

"These findings suggest that primary care clinicians recognize the need to tailor their colorectal cancer screening recommendations to the preferences of their patients, especially with the emergence of new, less invasive options," Paul Limburg, MD, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic and the study’s senior author, said in a press release.

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