Hunter JE, Zepp JM, Gilmore MJ, Davis JV, Esterberg EJ, Muessig KR, Peterson SK, Syngal S, Acheson LS, Wiesner GL, Reiss JA, Goddard KA. Universal tumor screening for Lynch syndrome: assessment of the perspectives of patients with colorectal cancer regarding benefits and barriers. Cancer. 2015 Sep 15;121(18):3281-9. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29470

BACKGROUND: Universal tumor screening for Lynch syndrome, the most common form of hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC), has been recommended among all patients newly diagnosed with CRC. However, there is limited literature regarding patient perspectives of tumor screening for Lynch syndrome among patients with CRC who are not selected for screening based on family history criteria.

A total of 145 patients aged 39 to 87 years were administered surveys assessing perceived risk, patient perspectives, and potential benefits of and barriers to tumor screening for Lynch syndrome. Associations between patient-specific and cancer-specific factors and survey responses were analyzed.

RESULTS: The majority of participants perceived their risk of developing Lynch syndrome as being low, with 9 participants (6.2%) anticipating an abnormal screening result. However, most participants endorsed the potential benefits of screening for themselves and their families, with 84.8% endorsing ≥6 benefits and 50.3% endorsing all 8 benefits. Participants also endorsed few potential barriers to screening, with 89.4% endorsing ≤4 of 9 potential barriers. A common barrier was worry about the cost of additional testing and surveillance, which was endorsed by 54.5% of participants. The level of distress associated with tumor screening for Lynch syndrome, which was very low, was not associated with age or CRC stage.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the current study indicate that patients with CRC overall have a positive attitude toward tumor screening for Lynch syndrome, endorse the benefits of screening, and experience low levels of distress. These findings provide insight into patient attitudes toward tumor screening for Lynch syndrome among unselected patients with CRC to inform educational approaches that assist in patient decision-making and guide the successful implementation of screening programs.

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