THURSDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- People at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer may be able to reduce their risk by getting thorough colonoscopies and adhering to recommendations for follow-up exams, a new study suggests.
Researchers in Germany looked at more than 400 people with polyps -- growths in the colon and rectum that can lead to cancer -- that had been detected in the past 10 years. About a third of them developed colorectal cancer.
The researchers found that those with colorectal cancer were more likely to have neglected getting a follow-up colonoscopy within five years of detection and to not have had their polyps completely removed upon detection.
These colonoscopy-related factors accounted for two in five cancer cases, whereas factors related to the polyps themselves, such as the number of polyps a patient had, were only associated with one in five cases, the researchers said.
The study was conducted by researchers at the German Cancer Research Center and the University of Heidelberg, and was published in the Aug. 21 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
"This study found that incomplete removal of polyps at colonoscopy in patients with a history of precancerous polyps and lack of follow-up colonoscopy within five years were the most important factors linked to subsequent development of colorectal cancer," said Dr. Frank Sinicrope, a gastroenterologist and medical oncologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Sinicrope was not involved in the research.
"Not achieving these objectives can result in failure to realize the full potential of colonoscopy to prevent colorectal cancer," Sinicrope added.
The German study involved 155 participants who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 260 participants who, although they had at least one polyp detected, did not have colorectal cancer. More than 60 percen
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