"This is concerning, because colon cancer is a disease that is preventable if patients get screened as recommended," said Garrow. "So, we hope with this study will encourage patients with metabolic syndrome to adhere to screening guidelines."
Dr. George Chang, an assistant professor of surgical oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston, agreed.
"I think this kind of a study emphasizes the importance of screening, and importance of adhering to the current guidelines," he said. "What the study does not do is evaluate if patients with metabolic syndrome develop colon cancer at an earlier age. So, there is insufficient evidence here to necessarily change our screening recommendations to encourage metabolic syndrome patients specifically to go in for earlier screening than they would otherwise if they followed current guidelines."
"However, I think this certainly is an area that warrants further investigation," added Chang, "to see if we can better identify those patients who are at higher risk for colorectal cancer."
In a second study also presented at the meeting, researchers revealed that initiating colon cancer screening 10 years prior to Medicare eligibility at 65 appears to save $2 in health-care costs for every $1 spent.
The finding stems from an analysis conducted by Scott Tenner and his colleagues from the State University of New York and New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, after they administered free colonoscopies to 248 Brooklyn residents who had an average age of 55. The initiative was launched as part of a colon cancer screening program.
The program -- which determined that 45 percent of the patients had polyps of varying sizes, while five patients had early-stage colon cancer -- cost $390,000 to run. The t
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