The line âtalk to your doctor,â which appears in so many medical-related advertisements, is apparently right.
An analysis of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients who maintained regular contact with their clinicians (doctors, nurses, specialists) indicates those patients are more likely to follow recommendations for detecting cancer recurrence than patients who do not. In fact, researchers found CRC patients were more than twice as likely to adhere to medical follow up procedures if they had regular patient clinician information engagement (PCIE).
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research (CECCR) at the University of Pennsylvaniaâs Annenberg School for Communication. The research teamâdoctoral student Andy S.L. Tan; Mihaela Moldovan-Johnson, Ph.D.; doctoral student Sarah Parvanta; Stacy W. Gray, MD; Katrina Armstrong, MD; and Robert C. Hornik, Ph.D.âfollowed over 300 CRC patients since 2005. The results of their work currently appear in the journal The Oncologist, the official journal of the Society for Translational Oncology. The article title is âPatient-Clinician Information Engagement Improves Adherence to Colorectal Cancer Surveillance after Curative Treatment: Results from a Longitudinal Study.â
The patients in the studyâroughly half male, half female; mostly white (88.5 percent); a mean age of 68; and most (72.5%) indicating concern about cancer recurrenceâresponded to surveys over the three-year span of the study. All reported whether they had received specific follow up screening testsâtwo or more office visits, two or more serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) tests, and one colonoscopy. The study tracked how often these procedures were received in comparison to the amount of interaction patients had with their clinicians.
While only 41 percent reported receiving all three surveillance procedures, the researchers did note that patients who had consistent PCIE were 2.8 times more likely to adhere to recommended follow up tests.
Click here to view the full release.