The importance of colonoscopy in preventing gastrointestinal diseases

A new study from Norgine highlights the need to increase public understanding of important role of colonoscopy in preventing and diagnosing gastrointestinal diseases, including colorectal cancer

Norgine have published the findings of a public survey at the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ESGE) Days in Prague on the 50th anniversary of the first colonoscopy. This important study highlights the need to increase public understanding of the role of colonoscopy in the prevention and diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases including colorectal cancer. The survey was conducted across five major European countries and included both people who had undergone a colonoscopy and those who have no previous experience with the procedure.

See here Dr. Marcello Maida, Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Unit, “S.Elia – Raimondi” Hospital, Caltanissetta, Italy discuss the importance of colonoscopy:

The study findings highlighted the misconceptions and strong negative associations about colonoscopy amongst those who have had no previous experience with the procedure. Those with no previous experience of colonoscopy were considerably more nervous about the procedure than those who had already undergone colonoscopy (74% vs 49%). This may be one of the reasons why many eligible people do not attend their colonoscopy appointments each year – a vital procedure for the prevention and diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases, including colorectal cancer. The target population for colorectal cancer screening in the EU is close to 69,000,000, but only 14% of the target population is currently being screened.

This study has highlighted the benefit of public education to increase understanding of the importance of the colonoscopy procedure, and particularly its important role in preventing colorectal cancer. Less than half (45%) of those who had not had the procedure knew that a colonoscopy could prevent colorectal cancer. Other findings suggested the need to improve patient experience of the procedure, including bowel preparation and the provision of relevant information. This may provide an opportunity for healthcare professionals to further support their patients.

Professor Pradeep Bhandari, Consultant Gastroenterologist, QA Hospital, Portsmouth said, “This survey highlights the lack of information about colonoscopy in public domain. Clinicians need to provide easily accessible and clear information about colonoscopy to improve the uptake of bowel cancer screening program in our fight against colorectal cancer.”

In the 50 years since the first colonoscopy, the procedure has become a crucial tool in the prevention and detection of gastrointestinal disorders, including colorectal cancer. Despite significant advances, however, the variation in uptake across Europe continues to prevent the potential of colonoscopy being fully realised for patients and health systems.

The survey asked 500 and 2500 people with and without colonoscopy experience across five main EU countries (UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) about their experience and understanding of colonoscopy.