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Colorectal cancer screening remains essential for elderly Americans
Date:10/15/2007

Philadelphia, PA, October 15, 2007As people get older, their risk of developing polyps and colorectal cancer increases. Currently, there is no clear evidence or established guideline for the upper age limit for colorectal cancer screening by colonoscopy. Two new studies presented at the American College of Gastroenterologys 72nd Annual Scientific Meeting suggest continued colorectal cancer screening among healthy elderly Americans.

Dr. Matthew M. Baichi and his colleagues from the University of Buffalo and the VA Western New York analyzed the results of 587 colonoscopies performed at their institution in 2004. Fifty-six patients were age 80 or older and 531 patients were younger than 80. Researchers collected data on the number and location of adenomas, histology, presence of advanced adenomas, and colon cancer.

In this Buffalo study, colorectal adenomas were detected more frequently in older patients. Adenomas were found in 35.7 percent of patients age 80 or older and 20.4 percent of patients younger than 80. There was a trend for more proximal advanced adenomas in patients over 80 (12.5 percent) compared to those younger than 80 (6 percent). After a 2.5-year follow-up, 72 percent of patients over the age of 80 were alive compared to 82 percent of patients between the ages of 70 and 79.

While screening colonoscopy is controversial in patients over 80, age alone should not be a contraindication to colorectal cancer screening, says Dr. Baichi. The results of this study suggest screening colonoscopy should be considered in healthy elderly patients.

Screening Leads to Earlier Stage of CRC Diagnosis in Elderly Patients and Improves Survival

In separate research conducted at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, CA, Emily G. Singh, MD, Catherine T. Frenette, MD, and Williamson B. Strum, MD, found that screening colonoscopy improves survival in elderly patients. The critical question for these researchers was wheth
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Contact: Rosanne Riesenman
mediaonly@acg.gi.org
301-263-9000
American College of Gastroenterology
Source:Eurekalert

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