Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 1993; 17(6):609-617.

Surveillance for Colorectal Neoplasia: Is Patient Adherence Following Treatment a Problem?

Ronald E. Myers, Ph.D., D.S.W.,a S. Philip Bralow, M.D.,b Richard Goldstein, M.D.,c Mark Jacobs, M.D.,d Thomas A. Wolf, M.A.,a and Paul F. Engstrom, M.D.a

a Fox Chase Cancer Center, Division of Population Science, Philadelphia, PA; b Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia, PA; c St. Mary Hospital, Philadelphia, PA; and d Delaware County Memorial Hospital

Address all correspondence to: Dr. Ronald E. Myers, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 510 Township Line Road, Cheltenham, PA 19012.

ABSTRACT: This study was conducted in order to assess prospective adherence to surveillance colonoscopy and fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) at 1 year following treatment for an index lesion among colorectal cancer and polyp patients. The investigation was carried out in cooperation with two gastroenterology and two surgical practices in Philadelphia and surrounding communities. Subjects in this study were patients who were treated for colorectal cancer (N = 9) or polyps (N = 169) and were recommended to undergo surveillance colonoscopy at 12 months following treatment. Overall, 96 (54%) subjects underwent surveillance colonoscopy. Of the 178 subjects included in the study, 52 (29%) were willing to participate in an assessment of FOBT sensitivity in surveillance. Of the 52 subjects who were mailed an FOBT packet, 24 (46%) actually returned specimen. Of the 24 patients who returned FOBTs, 17 (71%) also underwent colonoscopy, whereas only 10(36%) of 26 patients who did not do FOBTs underwent colonoscopy. These findings indicate that adherence to surveillance is low, and that adherence to FOBT may be a marker for adherence to colonoscopy.

KEY WORDS: colorectal cancer, polyps, surveillance, adherence.