Many Americans Over 50 Fear Colonoscopy: Survey

FRIDAY Jan. 14, 2011 -- Many Americans over the age of 50 ignore expert recommendations that they undergo a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer, a new survey reveals.

Seventy percent of the survey respondents in the age group recommended to get screened admitted that they hadn't done so primarily because of fear of the procedure.

The survey was conducted last fall by the Washington, D.C.-based Colon Cancer Alliance, and involved nearly 1,700 people. The poll was funded by Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a drug manufacturer that specializes in gastrointestinal treatments.

"Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States," Andrew Spiegel, CEO of the Colon Cancer Alliance, said in an organization news release. "More than 142,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon and rectal cancer this year, yet by getting tested, it could be prevented. The results from this survey reveal that Americans over the age of 50 forgo colonoscopies due in large part to fear."

Survey results indicated that among those who had actually undergone a colonoscopy, 60 percent said they either didn't get or don't recall getting any pre-procedure explanatory information from their health care provider and would have preferred receiving such information.

The Internet was cited as the source of information regarding colonoscopies for six in 10 of those surveyed.

Half of those who had undergone a colonoscopy said that the actual procedure was the easiest aspect of the total experience, while about three-quarters said that the pre-procedure bowel preparation process was the hardest part of the screening endeavor.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50 until age 75, when patients should consult their doctor about screening.

More information

For more about colonoscopies and how to prepare, visit the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Posted: January 2011


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