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Studies Offer More Evidence That Colonoscopy Saves Lives
Date:2/23/2012

screened from undergoing the test. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends colorectal screening for those between 50 and 75.

"Research like this is still needed because despite all of what we know and recommend, the American people are still not good at getting screening. So we really have a ways to go," said Dr. David Bernstein, chief of the division of gastroenterology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. "To me, it's honestly a no-brainer."

The National Polyp Study, which involved seven clinical centers, also found that patients who had precancerous colon polyps removed had the same low death rate from colon cancer for up to 10 years after the procedure when compared to another group of patients in whom no such polyps were found. Researchers used the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results population-based registry program to compare observed death rates in those with precancerous polyps to a similar group in the general population.

Meanwhile, the Spanish study, a trial involving more than 50,000 people that is still under way, will compare colorectal cancer deaths after either one-time colonoscopy screening or FIT screening every two years for a period of 10 years.

Dr. Anthony Starpoli, a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the Spanish study drives home the point that colonoscopy is superior to other types of screenings, but compliance with all types is low.

"It's easier to do FIT, but it's not a substitute for colonoscopy," he said. "It's a good screening test to do before colonoscopy, or in the interim between colonoscopies . . . but you would be surprised at how many people don't get FIT. It just does not get done."

Starpoli suggested that doctors spend more time explaining colonoscopy screening to patients instead of "simply mandating they have a test."

"I think this is the fault of the physicians," he said. "I think it
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