Screening for colorectal cancer: the role of the primary care physician

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Jan;29(1):e1-e7. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000000759.


In recent years, the role of primary care physicians (PCPs) in the diagnosis and management of gastrointestinal disorders, including screening for colorectal cancer (CRC), has been recognized as very important. The available data indicate that PCPs are not adequately following CRC screening guidelines because a number of factors have been identified as significant barriers to the proper application of CRC screening guidelines. These factors include lack of time, patient reluctance, and challenges related to scheduling colonoscopy. Further positive engagement of PCPs with CRC screening is required to overcome these barriers and reach acceptable levels in screening rates. To meet the expectations of modern medicine, PCPs should not only be able to recommend occult blood testing or colonoscopy but also, under certain conditions, able to perform colonoscopy. In this review, the authors aim to provide the current knowledge of the role of PCPs in increasing the rate and successfully implementing a screening program for CRC by applying the relevant international guidelines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colonoscopy* / standards
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / methods*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / standards
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / standards
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Occult Blood*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physicians, Primary Care* / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Primary Health Care* / standards
  • Prognosis
  • Reminder Systems