Colon cancer screening is effective, study says

Eryn Brown / Los Angeles Times /

Published Oct 3, 2013 at 05:00AM

Getting a colonoscopy is not something most people look forward to — but a new analysis suggests that it’s worth it to follow screening recommendations and have the test done every 10 years (or every five for those at high risk.)

Writing in The New England Journal of Medicine last month, Harvard researcher Reiko Nishihara and co-authors assessed colonoscopy use, colorectal cancer cases and colorectal cancer deaths among participants in the multidecade Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

Following 88,902 subjects over 22 years, they found that people who underwent endoscopic screenings were less likely to develop colon cancer than people who didn’t. Subjects who had clean colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies and polypectomies were, respectively, 56 percent, 40 percent, and 43 percent less likely to develop the disease than subjects who were not screened.