Publication Abstract

Authors: Cooper GS, Yuan Z, Chak A, Rimm AA

Title: Patterns of endoscopic follow-up after surgery for nonmetastatic colorectal cancer.

Journal: Gastrointest Endosc 52(1):33-8

Date: 2000 Jul

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Endoscopic examinations of the colon are often recommended for surveillance following colorectal cancer resection. The actual use and outcome of this testing are not known. METHODS: Five thousand seven hundred sixteen patients 65 years of age or older with local or regional stage colorectal cancer diagnosed in 1991 were identified through the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results registry. All inpatient and outpatient Medicare claims from 6 months after diagnosis through the end of 1994 were examined to determine use of endoscopic procedures. RESULTS: One or more colonoscopies were performed in 51%, with an average of 2.9 procedures performed among those tested; sigmoidoscopy was performed in 17%. The rate of colonoscopy was highest during the initial 18 months. Polypectomy was performed in 21% of all patients, and subsequent primary colorectal tumors were diagnosed in 1.3%. Factors associated with colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy use included younger age, survival through follow-up, and geographic region; sigmoidoscopy was also more common in relation to rectal cancers. CONCLUSIONS: There is variability in the use of endoscopic procedures following potentially curative resection for colorectal cancer, with patient-related factors and local practice patterns accounting for the variation. Further studies are needed to elicit the reasons for lack of follow-up and adherence to practice guidelines.