A new study finds that people are more likely to get screened for colorectal cancer when doctors give them a choice about which test to have. By discussing a variety of screening tools, including a stool test, or leaving it up to patients to decide what form of screening to undergo, researchers think doctors could boost screening rates.
The study followed three groups of men and women between 50-79 years old with an average risk of developing colorectal cancer. For the first group, doctors recommended colonoscopies. For the second group, doctors recommend only stool testing, also known as “fecal occult blood testing.” The last group was given a choice between the two tests by the doctor.
Almost 60% of the study participants ended up getting the screening test their doctors had recommended or the one they picked themselves. However, only 38% of the patients who were recommended a colonoscopy scheduled one over the next year while 67% of those who were recommended a fecal occult blood test got that test. In the third group, given the choice between two forms of screening, 69% were screened following their decision.
Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, individuals between the ages of 50 and 75 should be screened by one of three methods: a colonoscopy every 10 years; annual stool testing; or a less-thorough look into the colon (known as flexible sigmoidoscopy) every five years in conjunction with stool testing every two to three years.
Talk to your primary care doctor about your colorectal screening schedule today!