When seeing a gastroenterologist for that first colonoscopy, patients may assume that the doctor will be asking all the questions, such as a patient’s diet, level of physical activity, family history, and whether they are experiencing any symptoms related to GI health. But patients should always ask some important questions to the gastroenterologist as well.
The most important question to ask a gastroenterologist is, “What is your adenoma detection rate (ADR)?” Adenomas are precancerous polyps that a GI specialist will identify and remove during a colonoscopy. ADR is the proportion of individuals undergoing a colonoscopy who have one or more adenomas, or colon polyps, detected.
A gastroenterologist’s Adenoma Detection Rate will differ between men and women – at least 25 percent for male patients and 15 percent for female patients. The purpose of scheduling a colonoscopy is to prevent colon cancer, so always pick a physician with a high adenoma detection rate. Meaning, the doctor is locating and removing precancerous colon polyps from a higher percentage of patients.
You may feel like you are being too bold in asking for numbers and percentages from your gastroenterologist, but asking about a doctor’s Adenoma Detection Rate is extremely common and necessary. Adenoma Detection Rate is a quality measure that distinguishes the best gastroenterologists in the profession. The physician should be proud to share their ADR.
Additionally, potential patients should inquire about average withdrawal time. The withdrawal time refers to the amount of time that it takes for a gastroenterologist to remove the colonoscope after reaching the beginning of the colon called the cecum. High Adenoma Detection Rates are usually associated with a longer withdrawal time, which is at least six minutes.
Colon polyps that are left in the colon will grow and can develop into colon cancer. Adenoma Detection Rate and withdrawal time are two quality measures that should matter to you in ensuring that the gastroenterologist finds and removes precancerous adenomatous polyps and lesions.
A patient can also insure that the colonoscopy is a success by reading and following the bowel preparation instructions given by the GI specialist to insure the colon is completely cleansed for the colon cancer screening. A high Adenoma Detection Rate, longer withdrawal time and a complete bowel flush are the three most important components for a quality colon cancer screening (Source: Advocate Health Care E-News).