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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Feb;14(2):417-21.

Surveillance patterns and polyp recurrence following diagnosis and excision of colorectal polyps in a medicare population.

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Worldwide Outcomes Research, Pfizer, Inc., 100 Route 206 North, Peapack, NJ 07977, USA.



Study objectives were to determine surveillance and polyp recurrence rates among older, increased-risk patients who have been diagnosed and excised of colorectal polyps. The high incidence of colorectal cancers in the Medicare-eligible population, the strong evidence linking reductions in mortality from colorectal cancer by removal of colorectal polyps, and the paucity of postpolypectomy surveillance data in this population all supported the need for this study.


This retrospective study used Medicare claims data to identify a cohort of 19,895 beneficiaries ages >/=65 years diagnosed and excised of colorectal polyps in 1994. Survival analysis was used to compute surveillance and polyp recurrence rates over 5 years. Log-rank test was used for all statistical comparisons.


Median time to first surveillance was 2.6 years. Surveillance rates for 1, 3, and 5 years were 17.6%, 55.8%, and 74.5%, respectively. Twenty-six percent had no surveillance event. Polyp recurrence rates for 1, 3, and 5 years were 10.9%, 38.2%, and 52.6%, respectively. Males and younger patients were more likely to undergo surveillance and showed higher polyp recurrence rates.


The high likelihood of polyp recurrence underscores the need for continued efforts to promote awareness of and compliance with postpolypectomy surveillance. Efforts to increase surveillance rates among individuals diagnosed with colorectal polyps and making available additional treatment options that may prevent the recurrence of polyps and/or their possible progression to colorectal cancer should help make significant progress in reaching the Healthy People 2010 goal of reducing colorectal cancer deaths by 34% by the year 2010.

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