Colon Cancer Patients Going Without Post-Surgery Care

Melanie Rovinsky

A recent study funded by the American Cancer Society shows
that only 40 percent of older colon cancer patients are receiving the
post-surgery screenings recommended to ensure that the disease has not
returned. The rest of the 4,426 patients in the study have not gotten all the
doctor visits, taken all the blood tests, or gotten a colonoscopy-all of which
are advised for the three years following the cancer surgery.

Of all the recommended treatments, patients were least
likely to take all of the suggested blood tests. Dr. Gregory Cooper, the
gastroenterologist in charge of the study, is unsure whether to place the blame
on physicians for not offering the tests, or patients for not taking advantage
of them. However, Cooper said it could be the fault of the providers who aren’t
specialists and are unfamiliar with the rules.

An estimated 149,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed
with colon cancer by the end of this year. With the disease becoming more and
more prevalent, it is important for everyone to be aware of the risks. The
survival rate beyond five years ranges from 90 percent for cancer that hasn’t
spread to 10 percent for more aggressive cases. Follow-up care is becoming the
patient’s responsibility, and his or her life can often depend on it.