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Family Docs Do Colonoscopies Safely
Date:1/15/2009

onscious sedation, and that when reviewing only those types of screenings, the rate actually went up to 90.5 percent.

And with respect to adequate spotting of benign or precancerous tumor growths known as adenomas, Wilkins and his colleagues found that the detection rate was nearly 30 percent -- again, well within recommended standards.

The researchers therefore concluded that colonoscopies performed by primary-care physicians are indeed safe and effective, so long as the physician is trained to conduct such screenings.

"Patients should simply ask their general practitioner if they are trained in colonoscopies," Wilkins advised. "And ask them, if so, how many they perform annually, the way you should and would when considering a doctor for any type of surgery or procedure."

On another note, other studies published in the same journal highlighted positive and negative findings, respectively, with regards to a different form of colon cancer screening known as the home fecal occult blood test (FOBT).

Long recommended as an effective annual method for initial colorectal cancer screening, one study led by Dr. Michael B. Potter, from the department of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, found that FOBT screening rates go up dramatically -- by almost 30 percent -- if the option is offered to patients while attending an annual flu shot clinic.

On the other hand, a second study led by Dr Masahito Jimbo, of the department of family medicine at the University of Michigan, suggested that a significant number of primary-care physicians fail to encourage their patients to adhere to guidelines that advise those who receive a positive FOBT result to undergo more rigorous follow-up screenings, such as a colonoscopy. Jimbo and his team called for colorectal screening programs to include specific physician guidance instruction as to when to prescribe additional evaluations.


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