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Studies identify risk factors for colon cancer

New Orleans, LA Every day new research shows major correlations between prevalent diseases in America and leading research is often specific to more targeted populations, such as women. In new studies presented today at Digestive Disease Week in New Orleans, scientists report that women's preferences for a female physician may delay or prevent proper colorectal screenings due to a lack of females in the field and diabetes may be a significant risk factor for development of colon cancer. Digestive Disease Week (DDW) is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

"Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, so barriers to screening and other related challenges need to be addressed to improve care," said Bernard Levin, M.D., of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Women's Preference for Women Physicians is a Barrier to Colorectal Cancer Screening (Abstract 102382*)
Female patients tend to prefer seeing female physicians in most specialties of medicine. A study presented by researchers at the University of Michigan found that for colorectal screenings in particular, women patients' preference for a female health care professional is strong enough to delay the procedure and incur additional expenses, as there is a lack of available female endoscopists.

To confirm their hypothesis, researchers administered a questionnaire to a prospective cohort of 202 female patients between the ages of 40 and 70 at four primary care offices. Forty-three percent of the respondents preferred a female endoscopist. Of those, 87 percent were willing to wait more than 30 days for the female and 14 percent were willing to pay additional costs for one. Five percent of respondents said they would not undergo the procedure unless guaranteed a female endoscopist.

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