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COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING PRACTICES OF SASKATCHEWAN HEALTH CARE WORKERS
P Porostocky, S Card
Department of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in Canada. Over 90% of cases are detected in men and women over the age of 50. Less than 20% of Canadians over the age of 50 have been screened using any method.
We aimed to determine the colorectal cancer screening practices of health care workers. The age at screening as well as the investigations used to screen would be compared to current recommended Canadian guidelines.
Self-administered questionnaires were delivered to Saskatchewan Family Physicians, Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students of whom respectively 51, 14 and 45 participated. The questionnaire consisted of four multiple-choice clinical scenarios based around colorectal cancer screening.
All (100%) of participants recommended screening for colorectal cancer. 14% of Family Physicians screened the average risk patient 10 years earlier than needed. 100% of Residents and 93% of Medical Students screened at the correct age. Colonoscopy every 10 years with yearly fecal occult blood testing was the most common method of screening for Family Physicians (33%), Residents (36%) and Medical Students (47%). 91% of Medical Students used the fecal occult blood test as part of their screening process compared to 65% of Residents and 60% of Family Physicians.
The majority of health care workers involved screen average and high risk patients at the correct age. Family Physicians have a tendency to screen earlier than recommended and are less likely to use fecal occult blood testing. The method of screening does not always follow guidelines – colonoscopy every ten years along with yearly fecal occult blood testing is not recommended. This method of screening increases cost and risk to patients. More education is needed regarding screening guidelines.