Research: How Much Do Colonoscopies Reduce Colon Cancer Risk?

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Colonoscopies are regarded as the "gold standard" for colorectal cancer screening, and a new study published April 3rd in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrates just how effective they can be in the prevention of colon cancer.

The research was conducted by Douglas Corley, MD, PhD of the Kaiser Permanente Division of research in Oakland, CA. The findings showed that the more non-cancerous growths physicians removed on colonoscopy, the lower the chances that patients would later develop cancer. For every 1 percent increase in adenoma detection through colonoscopy, there was a 3 percent lower risk for colon cancer.

An adenoma is a type of polyp that grows along the wall of the colon. These polyps, or tissue growths, can be benign but if left undetected or ignored can become cancerous.

"These findings support the validity of the adenoma detection rate as a quality measure of physicians' performance of colonoscopy in community practice, and suggest that the development and testing of interventions to improve the adenoma detection rate are warranted," researchers concluded.

They also added that their finding that there was a relationship between adenoma detection and lower risk for later cancer diagnoses adds more support for the recommendation of colonoscopies.

If you are 50 years or older, discuss  colon cancer screening  with your doctor.

Other Colon Cancer New From Around the Web:

  • Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine report that a new blood test could provide a rapid, accurate method of detecting several types of cancers.
  • A new study suggests that a certain type of bacteria in the gut may guide colon cancer progression.
  • The National Cancer Institute published an article that explores how detection of precancerous polyps through colon cancer screening reduces cancer risk, especially in African Americans.
  • Good news for celiac patients: a recent study found that the risk for colon cancer in celiac disease patients is very low and even lower in those who eat a strictly gluten-free diet.
  • A recent study found that Aspirin use appears linked with improved survival after colon cancer diagnosis.
  • Interesting research found that a doctor's skill in colonoscopy performance may affect patients' colon cancer risk.

Creative Commons image via Jason Meredith

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Topics: Colon Cancer Research, Colon Cancer Statistics