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Katie Couric Misrepresented Screening Benefits - Claims 'Death By Colonoscopy' Expose

LYNDHURST, N.J., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Back in 2000 Katie Couric told Americans that colorectal cancer (CRC) is "more than 90% curable -- but only if you get tested in time." The investigative report "Death By Colonoscopy" will show that according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), as recently as in 2008, " is not yet known for certain whether colonoscopy can help reduce the number of deaths from colorectal cancer."

Nonetheless, thanks to "The Katie Couric Effect," the number of screening colonoscopies increased from under 1 million in year 2000 to over 14 million today, costing American consumers upwards of $30 billion. During the same timeframe, the annual incidence of colorectal cancer went up 22%, not down. Mortality remained practically unchanged.

According to the recently published research in the Annals of Internal Medicine, colonoscopy is 10 times riskier than any other cancer screening. According to the NCI, the rate for serious complications is 0.5%. This means an estimated 70,000 Americans are killed or injured annually by complications alone. Combined with deferred side effects, such as stroke, heart attack, bleeding, or pneumonia, the overall annual mortality related to colonoscopy screenings may exceed the mortality from colon cancer itself(<55,000).

Other relevant facts:

  • A single virtual colonoscopy exposes patients to a level of radiation experienced by the survivors of the Hiroshima a-bomb, and increases all-cancer risk by 20%, while the initial colorectal cancer risk is under 5%. (Source: FDA)
  • Virtual colonoscopies are now recommended every 5 years, even though "Whether virtual colonoscopy can reduce the number of deaths from CRC is not yet known." (NCI, 2008) Deaths from cancers caused by virtual colonoscopy are expected to affect tens of millions of Americans for generations.
  • The 18 year long Minnesota Colon Cancer Control Study included 46,551 patients and demonstrated only a 0.62% reduction of CRC among screened.
  • The number of delayed strokes and heart attacks related to screenings isn't reported, but believed high. According to the Telemark Polyp Study, screening increases mortality by 57%.
  • Removing polyps does not prevent colorectal cancers either. According to the research published back in 2006, the screened patients in all of the studies developed colorectal cancer "at the same rate as would be expected in the general population without screening." (Source: NYT, 12/14/06)

These facts and more are presented in the investigative report "Death by Colonoscopy" by Konstantin Monastyrsky, New Jersey-based medical writer. The report is available immediately on YouTube and

An estimated two hundred Americans are killed or injured by colonoscopies daily. Thousands more are exposed to irreversible cancer-causing radiation. Delay in disclosing this information to the American public will cause more unnecessary deaths. Please review and publicize this information in your respective media outlet.

About Konstantin Monastyrsky: Mr. Monastyrsky is the author of four books on health and nutrition. He is a European-educated pharmacist, and an expert in forensic nutrition.


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