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Ann Oncol. 2007 Sep;18(9):1518-22.

Participation in screening colonoscopy in first-degree relatives from patients with colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany.



Current guidelines recommend screening colonoscopy in first-degree relatives of patients with colon cancer. The aim of this state-wide study was to investigate the compliance for colonoscopic in first-degree relatives, who were younger than 60 years of age.


A total of 602 patients were identified from the tumor registry of the public health insurance of Lower Saxony. A questionnaire was sent to these patients, which included a number of different questions regarding their knowledge about the risk of colon cancer for their family members, as well as their participation in screening colonoscopy.


Data from 442 patients and their first-degree relatives (1005 siblings and 354 parents) were available; 178 parents had undergone screening colonoscopy and 344 siblings. Interestingly, the percentage of siblings who underwent screening colonoscopy was significantly higher (27%) among those siblings where the index patients were aware of the increased risk for the first-degree relatives, in contrast to the siblings of the index patients who were not aware of this risk (20%).


This study demonstrates that only a minority of first-degree relatives undergo screening colonoscopy and that informing patients about the potential risk for their relatives will increase participation in screening colonoscopy in first-degree relatives of the patients.

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