Oct 10, 2022 — A colonoscopy may not provide as many benefits as we previously thought about what’s considered the gold standard in cancer screening, according to a surprising new report. study outside of northern Europe.
After a 10-year follow-up study of people who were invited to have a colonoscopy, researchers compared their results to a group of people who had not been screened for cancer. The first group had only an 18% lower risk of colon cancer, and the procedure didn’t make a significant difference in colon cancer deaths, according to results published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Colon cancer – the second leading cause of cancer in the United States and third in the world – is most commonly found in adults over the age of 50.
During a colonoscopy, doctors insert a small camera through the anus to examine the large intestine and rectum (also known as the colon).
“The absolute risks of colorectal cancer risk and colorectal cancer-related death were lower than those in previous screening trials and lower than we expected when the trial was planned,” says Michael Bretawer, MD, a gastroenterologist from the University of Oslo’s Department of Medicine in Norway, and lead researcher. In the study.
If you hate colonoscopy, don’t start jumping happily just yet. The study also had its drawbacks.
Researchers invited about 28,000 people enrolled in a long-term health study in Northern Europe to undergo colonoscopy. Just under half – 42% – (they already got it.
“It’s hard to tell the value of a screening test when the majority of people in the study don’t get it done,” says William Dahout, chief scientific officer of the American Cancer Society.
However, study patients who underwent colonoscopy had a 31% lower risk of colorectal cancer, and cancer-related deaths were halved compared to those who were not screened. This result indicates the value of continuous screening.
Getting colon cancer screening is still the best prevention method, he says Karen Knudsen, Ph.D., CEO of the American Cancer Society.
“The American Cancer Society recommends screening for colorectal cancer, including colonoscopy, for adults starting at age 45,” Knudsen says. There is no reason to change this trend. Recommended cancer screenings should be a routine part of good health.”
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