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Screening Colonoscopy and Colorectal Cancer Risk FREE

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The full report is titled “Screening Colonoscopy and Risk for Incident Late-Stage Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis in Average-Risk Adults. A Nested Case–Control Study.” It is in the 5 March 2013 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 158, pages 312-320). The authors are C.A. Doubeni, S. Weinmann, K. Adams, A. Kamineni, D.S.M. Buist, A.S. Ash, C.M. Rutter, V.P. Doria-Rose, D.A. Corley, R.T. Greenlee, J. Chubak, A. Williams, A.R. Kroll-Desrosiers, E. Johnson, J. Webster, K. Richert-Boe, T.R. Levin, R.H. Fletcher, and N.S. Weiss.


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Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(5_Part_1):I-48. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-158-5-201303050-00001
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Research studies, including randomized trials, have shown that colon and rectal cancer are less common in people who are screened with sigmoidoscopy or fecal occult blood tests. In contrast, only limited evidence is available about the effectiveness of screening with colonoscopy.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

Screening colonoscopy is becoming increasingly popular.

Who was studied?

More than 1000 average-risk adults who were members of one of four health plans in the United States and were aged 55 to 85 years when they were diagnosed with late-stage colorectal cancer during 2006, 2007, or 2008.

How was the study done?

Researchers matched the people who had colorectal cancer with those who did not have it but were the same sex and about the same age and had been in the health plan for a similar amount of time. They then examined medical records and claims data to find out how many people in each group received screening colonoscopies.

What did the researchers find?

People with colorectal cancer had fewer screening colonoscopies, and people without the disease had more screening colonoscopies. The researchers calculated that people who had screening colonoscopies were 70% less likely to be diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer.

What were the limitations of the study?

Experiments that randomly assign people to receive an intervention can establish cause and effect, but studies, such as this one, that observe people can only suggest cause and effect.

What are the implications of the study?

These results are consistent with the increasing popularity of screening colonoscopy in the United States.

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