Monday, May 21, 2012
A big study finds that a simple, cheaper scope exam of just the lower part of the bowel can cut the risk of developing colon cancer or dying of the disease.
Many doctors recommend a more complete test, colonoscopy, but many people refuse the costly, unpleasant exam. The study shows that the simpler test, flexible sigmoidoscopy can be a good option. It uses a thin scope to check the lower one third of the large intestine for signs of cancer.
The study of more than 150,000 people found there were 21 percent fewer colon cancer cases and 26 percent fewer deaths from it among those assigned to get the simpler exam.
Results are being presented at a conference and published online Monday by the New England Journal of Medicine.