Study Suggests Physicians Conduct Unnecessary Surveillance Colonoscopies
Physicians appear to be performing surveillance colonoscopies at frequencies higher than those recommended by evidence-based medical guidelines, according to the results of a recent national survey published in the August 17 Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Pauline Mysliwiec, of the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, and colleagues sought to learn whether physicians followed recommended guidelines for surveillance colonoscopies, and what factors most influence a physician's decisions. The study warns that as the demand for colonoscopies in the United States increases, overperformance could tax limited physician resources and cause unnecessary risk to patients.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded survey of gastroenterologists and general surgeons about their opinions and practices regarding the use of surveillance colonoscopy in various clinical scenarios sought to find out how often physicians would recommend a colonoscopy and/or other procedures following an initial discovery of a colorectal abnormality in a healthy and asymptomatic 50-year-old patient. Read more
Patient Navigator Program Reduces Cancer Health Disparities
A major gap exists in the cancer discovery-development-delivery continuum for many Americans. Discovery and development research typically results in beneficial procedures for cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment that are intended for all Americans. Health disparities arise when the delivery system does not provide access to timely, standard cancer care to everyone who needs it. This is particularly evident among racial/ethnic minorities, people of low socioeconomic status, residents of rural areas, and members of other underserved populations.
NCI is working to close this gap between development and delivery among underserved populations. A central issue is that patients face a variety of barriers to standard cancer prevention information, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care that inhibit timely access to health services. These barriers include fragmentation of health care services; lack of health insurance or underinsurance; provider- and patient-related education barriers; communication barriers, particularly for patients whose first language is not English; inadequate transportation to medical appointments; and missed appointments due to travel, child care, or employment barriers. Read more