Patients with one or more health conditions are more likely to be screened for colorectal cancer than those without comorbidities, according to researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch Hospitals in Galveston, TX. The outcomes were featured in the paper, ‘National disparities in colorectal cancer screening in patients with comorbid conditions: an analysis of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System’, published in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. However, patients with five or more health conditions are also less likely to be screened than patients with two to four health conditions.
"No prior study, to my knowledge, has assessed the impact of multiple comorbidities on colorectal screenings. It was a real surprise to see how a patient's other health conditions impact their likelihood of being tested," said Dr Ben Greiner, an internist at the University of Texas Medical Branch Hospitals in Galveston, TX. "Our findings reveal a lack of or myriad health conditions may prevent patients from receiving the preventive care they need."
The study found patients with diabetes, hypertension, skin cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), arthritis, depression, and chronic kidney disease were significantly more likely to be screened than those without these health conditions.
"It may be that the treating physician or a patient suffering from five or more additional disease states is fatigued by more pressing treatment needs and therefore not prioritizing important screenings," he added. "I also worry about the person who has no other health conditions and is either not seeing their doctor on a regular basis or, because of their otherwise clean bill of health, not following the screening recommendation."
A large U. study found that an increase in screening adherence of roughly 40% corresponded with a 52% reduction in cancer mortality. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about one in 23 (4.3%) for men and one in 25 (4.0%) for women. The ACS guidelines recommend that all patients aged 45 or older be screened.
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