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New Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines Focus on Individual Risk
Date:3/6/2012

rectal cancer, which takes a while to progress.

This is another instance where each patient should be assessed individually, however. "Some people at 75 may be healthier than some at 55, and you have to make a clinical judgment," Qaseem said. "In those patients it may be OK [to screen], because they may be living to 100."

The decision of which screening test to use also depends on what doctors feel comfortable with, Sinicrope said.

Although there is evidence to support using a newer form of noninvasive colonoscopy, called CT or virtual, colonoscopy, Sinicrope said there are not enough doctors who have expertise with the technology for it to be reliable. The ACP guidelines did not recommend CT colonoscopy.

In all, the ACP panel reviewed guidelines from five organizations that each focused on different aspects of screening: the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, the American College of Radiology, the American College of Gastroenterology, and the joint guidelines by the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology.

More information

Find out more about colon cancer at the American Cancer Society.

SOURCES: Amir Qaseem, M.D., director, clinical policy, American College of Physicians; Frank Sinicrope, M.D., professor, medicine and oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; March 6, 2012, Annals of Internal Medicine


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