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Protection Against Colorectal Cancer With Colonoscopy FREE

[+] Article and Author Information

The full report is titled “Protection From Colorectal Cancer After Colonoscopy. A Population-Based, Case–Control Study.” It is in the 4 January 2011 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 154, pages 22-30). The authors are H. Brenner, J. Chang-Claude, C.M. Seiler, A. Rickert, and M. Hoffmeister.


Ann Intern Med. 2011;154(1):I-24. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-154-1-201101040-00001
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Worldwide, colorectal cancer (CRC) is diagnosed in more than 1 million persons each year and more than 500 000 die of the disease. Colonoscopy, in which a flexible fiberoptic scope is used to inspect the colon and rectum and remove worrisome precancerous growths, is recommended for adults older than 50 years (or at younger ages for persons at increased risk for CRC). In highly standardized conditions, colonoscopy is associated with a reduction in the risk for CRC.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To find out whether colonoscopy is also associated with reductions in CRC when done in a typical, “real-world,” community-based medical care setting.

Who was studied?

1688 adults older than 50 years with CRC and 1932 healthy persons of similar age, sex, and location of residence in southwestern Germany.

How was the study done?

Study participants were asked whether they had had a colonoscopy in the previous 10 years, and medical records were obtained to assess important medical details, such as how advanced their cancer was at the time of diagnosis.

What did the researchers find?

The risk for CRC was significantly reduced in persons who had colonoscopy in the previous 10 years. The risks for early and more advanced stages of cancer were reduced by more than 50%. A lower risk for CRC was seen for both cancer on the left side of the colon (closer to the anus and thus easier to reach during colonoscopy) and for cancer on the right side (which is harder to reach).

What were the limitations of the study?

The researchers had to rely on the participant's memory of having had colonoscopy. In addition, factors that might be related to whether someone develops CRC, but that were not measured in the study, might have been responsible for some of the decrease in the risk for CRC.

What are the implications of the study?

Having a colonoscopy in a typical, “real-world,” community health care setting seems to provide strong protection against CRC.

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