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Endoscopic screening and surgery for familial adenomatous polyposis: dangerous delays

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Background Registries for patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) can improve patient management. However, in relation to colorectal cancer, a critical review has not previously been undertaken of the effectiveness of screening and surgical protocols within a registry.

Methods A review was undertaken of 63 gene carriers who received primary treatment for FAP between 1987, when the Northern Region Polyposis Registry was formed, and 1995.

Results In some gene carriers with colorectal cancer, surgery was delayed because of social factors or unpleasant surgical experiences in the family. Colonoscopy failed to detect five colorectal cancers.

Conclusions Delays in treatment still occur in patients with FAP and colorectal cancer, often because of complex social problems and patients' fear of surgery. If multiple colorectal polyps are present, colonoscopy is not a reliable screening test for malignancy and prophylactic surgery is indicated, preferably before the patient is 20 years old.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Wansbeck District General Hospital, Ashington, UK 2: Department of Human Genetics, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne and

Publication date: January 1, 1997

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