Perception of Colonoscopy Benefits: A Gap in Patient Knowledge?

Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, NH, USA.
Journal of Community Health (Impact Factor: 1.28). 11/2011; 37(3):719-24. DOI: 10.1007/s10900-011-9506-z
Source: PubMed


Our study aimed to determine, for patients who had undergone recent colonoscopy, associations between specific colonoscopy patient characteristics, exam characteristics and patients' perception of colonoscopy reducing their risk of dying from colorectal cancer. A cross-sectional analysis was conducted using data (2004-2008) from the New Hampshire Colonoscopy Registry, consisting of a Self-report Questionnaire, Colonoscopy Report form, and a Follow-up Questionnaire, which measured agreement responses to the statement, "Having a colonoscopy decreased my chances of dying from colon cancer". Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used to assess differences in patient responses by patient and colonoscopy characteristics. A majority of patients (N=5,672, 81%) agreed that having a colonoscopy decreased their chances of dying from colon cancer. Patients with a personal history of polyps were more likely to agree that colonoscopy reduced their chances of dying compared to patients without prior polypectomy [OR (95% CI) =1.34 (1.06, 1.69)] and patients with a family history of colorectal cancer were 33% more likely to agree to the statement than those without a family history [OR (95% CI) =1.33 (1.12, 1.58)]. Personal history of polyps and family history of colorectal cancer are significant predictors of patients' positive perception of colonoscopy, suggesting that personal experience, rather than the potential preventive effect of colonoscopy itself, may influence the perceived benefit of colonoscopy. Intervention efforts should be made to effectively disseminate knowledge of the preventive benefit of colonoscopy.

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