Endoscopist Specialty Predicts the Likelihood of Recommending Cessation of Colorectal Cancer Screening in Older Adults

Am J Gastroenterol. 2018 Dec;113(12):1862-1871. doi: 10.1038/s41395-018-0406-z. Epub 2018 Nov 2.


Objectives: Although the 2008 US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines recommend against routine colorectal cancer (CRC) screening for adults aged 76-85, it is unclear what endoscopists recommend in practice. Our goal was to examine current practice around cessation of CRC screening in older adults.

Methods: We included normal screening colonoscopy exams in adults ≥ 50 years old within the New Hampshire Colonoscopy Registry between 2009 and 2014. The primary outcome was endoscopists' recommendation against further screening. The main exposure variables included patient age, family history of CRC, and endoscopist characteristics. Descriptive statistics and univariate and multivariable logistic regression models were used.

Results: Of 13,364 normal screening colonoscopy exams, 2914 (21.8%) were in adults aged ≥ 65 and were performed by 74 endoscopists. Nearly 100% of adults aged 65-69 undergoing screening colonoscopy were given the recommendation to return for screening colonoscopy in the future. Only 15% of average-risk patients aged 70-74 were told to stop receiving screening, while 85% were told to return at a future interval, most frequently in 10 years when they would be 80-84. In the multivariable model, advancing patient age and the absence of family history of CRC were significantly associated with a recommendation to stop colonoscopy. Gastroenterologists were more likely to recommend stopping colonoscopy in accordance with guidelines than other non-gastroenterology endoscopists (adjusted OR (95% CI) 2.3 (1.6-3.4)).

Conclusions: In a large statewide colonoscopy registry, the majority of older adults are told to return for future screening colonoscopy. Having a family history of CRC or a non-gastroenterology endoscopist increases the likelihood of being told to return for screening at advanced ages.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Colonoscopy / standards*
  • Colonoscopy / statistics & numerical data
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Gastroenterologists / standards
  • Gastroenterologists / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Medical History Taking / statistics & numerical data
  • Medical Overuse / prevention & control*
  • Medical Overuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians, Family / standards
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Preventive Health Services / standards
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Surgeons / standards
  • Surgeons / statistics & numerical data