Some people wonder if they should have a procedure in a colonoscopy. What you need to know | CNN

CNN — New study of Europe’s largest colonoscopy has produced complex results and some people wonder if they should undergo a colorectal cancer screening procedure. “The most important message is that screening for colon cancer is effective and should be screened,” Dr Jason Dominitz told CNN. He is director of gastroenterology at the Veterans Health Administration and co-authored an editorial accompanying the study in the New England Journal of Medicine. In colonoscopy, your doctor inserts a long, flexible tube into your rectum. A small video camera at the end of the tube allows doctors to see inside the colon. They can look for precancerous polyps and cancerous growths, as well as all other abnormalities, and can cut and biopsy suspicious looking tissue. Doctors do a colonoscopy when they have symptoms of colorectal cancer and do a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer in people who do not have symptoms. There are other methods of screening for colon cancer, such as checking for blood hidden in the stool, but if these tests are suspicious, doctors often recommend a colonoscopy. “A colonoscopy is ultimately the test done to evaluate colon cancer,” Dominitz said. Dominitz helped CNN categorize the findings of this new study to see what it means for you. Spoiler warning: Colonoscopy can save lives What does this new study show about the effectiveness of colonoscopy In this study, about 12,000 people in Sweden, Poland and Norway had a colonoscopy They had a lower risk of colon cancer compared to those who were not invited to have a colonoscopy A 31% reduction and a 50% reduction in the risk of dying from colon cancer Was this expected?Some US studies have suggested colonoscopy is far more effective One study followed nearly 90,000 healthcare professionals for 22 years. Some of them chose to undergo screening colonoscopy and some did not.Researchers have estimated that colonoscopy is associated with a 40% lower risk of colon cancer and a 68% lower risk of dying from colon cancer. Why do the three European countries have different success rates in comparison?Dominitz says one reason may be that, in the European study, most people did not take sedatives when they had a colonoscopy. Although only % were sedated, almost everyone who has a colonoscopy in the U.S. received a sedative Colonoscopy can be uncomfortable, and doctors may unknowingly be less thorough if the patient feels pain. Thorough insertion of the scope into the crevice is important for finding growths called polyps.The more polyps the doctor finds, the lower the risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer or dying.Conclusion: Should I still be screened for colorectal cancer? Yes! Generally speaking, you should start having regular colonoscopy at age 45. People who are at higher risk due to family history or other factors are younger. See the Centers for Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society recommendations. And screening tests do not require colonoscopy. There are other tests, but colonoscopy is the most common. In a European study, people were invited to undergo colonoscopy. Why did they have to be invited? Isn’t screening for colorectal cancer standard practice in that country? Sweden, Poland and Norway have only recently started screening for colon cancer. Their program started around 2015, and the study invited people to undergo colonoscopy from 2009 to 2014. After that, patients were followed for about 10 years to determine if they had developed colorectal cancer. How many of the study participants accepted the invitation to have a colonoscopy? In a European study, 28,000 people between the ages of 55 and 64 were invited to undergo colonoscopy. Only 42% said yes. Why so little? Dominitz thinks it’s partly because people in the country aren’t used to having colonoscopy. They hadn’t had it before and probably didn’t have their friends and family either. Also, at the time of the study, there was no campaign to encourage colonoscopy. Nor did Katie Couric (or Ryan Reynolds) to raise awareness about colon cancer.

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