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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2008 May;23(5):453-9. doi: 10.1007/s00384-007-0430-8. Epub 2008 Jan 9.

Importance of postpolypectomy surveillance and postpolypectomy compliance to follow-up screening--review of literature.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Johnstown, PA 15905, USA. srirapuri@hotmail.com



Approximately 150,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year and 56,000 may die from it annually in the United States. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA and yet, when diagnosed at an early stage, it is one of the most preventable cancers. According to the US Preventive Services Task Force, initial screening for colorectal cancer is recommended in people above 50 years of age with average risk and earlier in people with a strong family history and other risk factors. Adenomatous polyps are considered as precursors of colorectal cancer. Removal of polyps and postpolypectomy surveillance reduces the overall mortality from colorectal cancer.


According to updated guidelines in 2006, a 3-year-follow-up colonoscopy is recommended in patients with adenomatous polyps>or=1 cm. An important factor in the surveillance and prevention of colorectal cancer in postpolypectomy patients is compliance with follow-up colonoscopy. In the present article, we provide an overview of the importance of postpolypectomy surveillance and summarize the compliance data for postpolypectomy surveillance. Compliance to postpolypectomy surveillance varies from one study to another and it should be expected that the compliance with follow-up would be low outside of clinical trials. Some measures that can improve patient compliance include patient education regarding a need of follow-up screening, reminder letters, and alerts in patient's charts.


In conclusion, effective surveillance screening with good patient compliance in postpolypectomy patients will contribute significantly in reducing colon cancer morbidity and mortality.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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