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Cancer. 2002 May 15;94(10):2569-76.

Adherence to repeat screening flexible sigmoidoscopy in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial.

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  • 1University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



Acceptance of screening flexible sigmoidoscopy has been poor, in part because of providers' concerns regarding the acceptability of the procedure. In the current prospective study, the authors used adherence to repeat testing to assess the acceptability of screening flexible sigmoidoscopy.


The current study was a prospective study of a randomized clinical trial drawing volunteers from the community. Subjects included 10,164 Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial participants who were available for follow-up 3 years after undergoing a baseline screening flexible sigmoidoscopy examination. The authors measured adherence and identified those factors that appeared to affect adherence to repeat sigmoidoscopy.


Overall, 18.3% of women and 10.0% of men did not undergo a repeat sigmoidoscopy. Among individuals who attended the Year-3 clinic, 10.4% of women and 5.1% of men specifically refused repeat sigmoidoscopy when it was offered (risk of refusal in women compared with men, 2.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.76-2.36). Another factor found to be associated with refusal included a technically inadequate baseline sigmoidoscopy.


Gender and past experiences with sigmoidoscopy may impact adherence to repeat screening. Nonetheless, among research volunteers in a randomized clinical trial of screening, excellent adherence to repeat screening flexible sigmoidoscopy could be achieved.

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