Nurse Practitioners are Critical Source of Colorectal Cancer Screening Information for Patients, Survey Shows

MADISON, Wis., June 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Exact Sciences today announced results of HealthyWomen's National Colorectal Cancer SNAPP (Screening KNowledge and Practice Patterns) Survey, in partnership with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). This survey of 358 nurse practitioners (NPs) showed they are highly engaged in colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, both personally and on behalf of their patients. It also revealed the need for increased awareness of the multitarget stool DNA test, a recommended CRC screening option.

Most NPs aged 50 years and older who were surveyed (91 percent, n=209) reported being screened for CRC as recommended by leading guidelines. A similar proportion of NPs surveyed younger than 50 (93 percent, n=136) reported that CRC screening would be a personal priority when turning 50.

While the majority of NP respondents[1] (79 percent) said they routinely discuss CRC screening with their eligible patients, the survey showed that there is an opportunity to embrace the latest recommended non-invasive CRC screening options:

  • Almost all NP respondents were familiar[2] with colonoscopy (98 percent) and the fecal blood test (92 percent).
  • Half of NP respondents (50 percent) were familiar [2] with multitarget stool DNA test (Cologuard) – a noninvasive stool DNA test that requires no preparation and can be completed at home.

Nearly all NPs who responded to the question (99 percent) reported they had prescribed colonoscopy and more than three-quarters (78 percent) prescribed the fecal blood test; 45 percent said they prescribed multitarget stool DNA testing (Cologuard). Almost two-thirds of NP respondents (64 percent) said they often or always talk to eligible patients about both invasive and noninvasive CRC screening options.

"Nurse practitioners are leaders in colorectal cancer screening, encouraging their eligible patients to be screened," said AANP President Joyce Knestrick, PhD, APRN, CFNP, FAANP. "However, only two-thirds of NPs surveyed said that their patients often or always complete CRC screening, with the most common reason for non-compliance being the disruptive nature of test preparation. With the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force CRC guidelines including noninvasive options that require no test prep, it's important that healthcare providers are familiar with all options so they can help patients choose the one that is best for them."

More than half of NP respondents (58 percent) said their patients were often or always more likely to undergo CRC screening when they found out there was a noninvasive screening test they could do at home.

"More than two-thirds of patients complete a Cologuard test after receiving it," said Philip Parks, M.D., head of Medical Affairs at Exact Sciences. "Given the low colorectal cancer screening rates nationwide, we are committed to working with NPs to support their efforts to educate patients about screening choices and engage their patients in shared decision-making, which may result in higher patient compliance with completing colorectal cancer screening."

The CRC SNAPP survey was conducted by HealthyWomen in collaboration with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, with funding from Exact Sciences. More than 511 healthcare providers, including 358 clinically practicing NPs, participated in the online survey between December 2017 and March 2018. HealthyWomen is the nation's leading independent, nonprofit health information source for women.

More information about the SNAPP survey is available via this infographic.

About the American Association of Nurse Practitioners
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 248,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate a nurse practitioner in your community, go to For more information about NPs, visit

About HealthyWomen
HealthyWomen is the nation's leading independent, nonprofit health information source for women. Our mission is to educate and empower women to make informed health choices for themselves and their families. For 30 years, millions of women have turned to HealthyWomen for answers to their most personal health care questions. HealthyWomen provides objective, research-based health information reviewed by medical experts to ensure its accuracy.

Nothing is more important to our health than access to competent care and the safety of our medicines and our health care practices. HealthyWomen works to educate women about health policy issues in these and other areas. We recognize the importance of clinical trials to improving women's health and support women's health research, particularly where sex may make a difference in research results. HealthyWomen advocates on behalf of women to ensure that women's health is a primary focus by policy makers and advocacy groups. Our investment in developing science-based information and our effort to incorporate perspectives reflected by advances in research and technology will further our mission to provide women with relevant and accurate health resources. For more information, please visit

About Cologuard
Cologuard was approved by the FDA in August 2014 and results from Exact Sciences' prospective 90-site, point-in-time, 10,000-patient pivotal trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in April 2014. Cologuard is included in the American Cancer Society's (2018) colorectal cancer screening guidelines and the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2016) and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2016). Cologuard is indicated to screen adults of either sex, 50 years or older, who are at typical average-risk for CRC. Cologuard is not for everyone; not for high risk individuals, including those with a family history of colorectal cancer, a personal history of cancer or advanced adenoma, IBD, and certain hereditary syndromes. Positive Cologuard results should be referred to diagnostic colonoscopy. A negative Cologuard test result does not guarantee absence of cancer or advanced adenoma. Following a negative result, patients should continue participating in a screening program at an interval and with a method appropriate for the individual patient. Cologuard performance when used for repeat testing has not been evaluated or established. For more information about Cologuard, visit Rx only.

About Exact Sciences Corp.
Exact Sciences Corp. is a molecular diagnostics company focused on the early detection and prevention of the deadliest forms of cancer. The company has exclusive intellectual property protecting its noninvasive, molecular screening technology for the detection of colorectal cancer. For more information, follow Exact Sciences on Twitter @ExactSciences or find Exact Sciences on Facebook.

[1] Throughout, NP respondents refers to those surveyed who responded to that particular question

[2] Rated familiarity as a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale where 5 was very familiar

Information shared in this release does not constitute endorsement of any product by AANP

J.P. Fielder
+1 608-210-5220


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