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Middle-Aged Diabetics May Need Earlier Colon Checks
Date:5/22/2012

k factors, such as race, obesity and smoking, and still found that those in their 40s with diabetes had a higher rate of polyps.

She is scheduled to present her findings Tuesday at Digestive Disease Week in San Diego.

More than 25 million people in the United States have diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most have type 2 diabetes, in which the body doesn't properly use and produce insulin, a hormone needed to convert food into energy. Because diabetes cases are expected to soar in coming decades, partly driven by the obesity epidemic, the researchers believe the findings have important public health implications.

Without insurance, a colonoscopy costs about $1,200 or more.

Dr. John Petrini, past president of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, said the results are intriguing but need to be confirmed in larger studies.

"Is there something about that small group?" he asked. Only future studies can answer that, said Petrini, also a gastroenterologist at Sansum Clinic, Santa Barbara, Calif.

The American Diabetes Association declined to comment on the study. Currently, its standards of care states that diabetes (possibly only type 2) is linked with a higher risk of colorectal and other cancers. It advises those with diabetes to undergo "recommended age- and sex-appropriate cancer screenings and to reduce their modifiable cancer risk factors [obesity, smoking, physical inactivity]."

In 2008, the American College of Gastroenterology updated its guidelines for colorectal cancer screening, which now say current evidence supports a doctor's recommendation to screen earlier than age 50, perhaps age 45, for patients who have "an extreme smoking history or obesity." Many patients with diabetes are also obese.

Digestive Disease Week is sponsored by four societies: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases; American Gastroenterological Association Institute; America
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