Saturday, June 23, 2018

Simple, cheaper exam cuts colon cancer deaths, study says

A simple, cheaper exam of just the lower part of the bowel can cut the risk of developing colon cancer or dying of the disease, a large federal study finds.

Many doctors recommend a more complete test — colonoscopy — but many people refuse that costly, unpleasant exam. The new study shows that the simpler test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, can be a good option. Although it may seem similar to having a mammogram on just one breast, experts say that even a partial bowel exam is better than none.

The study was published online Monday by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the fourth worldwide. More than 143,000 new cases and 52,000 deaths from the disease are expected this year in the United States alone.

People ages 50 to 75 who are at average risk of colon cancer are urged to get screened, but only about 60 percent do. Government advisers recommend one of three methods: annual stool blood tests; a sigmoidoscopy every five years plus stool tests every three years; or a colonoscopy once a decade.

Sigmoidoscopy is not a popular choice in the United States but it's the one used most often in England. It can be done in an ordinary doctor's office and costs just $150 to $300 versus $1,000 to $2,000 for a colonoscopy.

One drawback: A sigmoidoscopy is done without anesthesia. The test usually isn't painful, but patients feel cramping and some discomfort, said Dr. Durado Brooks, the American Cancer Society's colon cancer expert. It also sees only the lower one-third of the colon, "but that is an area where probably half of polyps and cancers develop," Brooks said.

The new study, led by Dr. Robert Schoen of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, tested how well it works. The research was sponsored by the federal National Cancer Institute.

Comments

The Latest: Explosion at large Ethiopia rally for new PM

The Latest: Explosion at rally for Ethiopia's new prime minister; 'few' reported injured
Updated: 1 hour ago

Explosion at rally for Ethiopia's new prime minister; state broadcaster reports 'few' injured

Explosion at rally for Ethiopia's new prime minister; state broadcaster reports 'few' injured
Updated: 1 hour ago

Ethiopians rally in support of new, reformist prime minister

Ethiopians by the thousands rally in support of new, reformist prime minister
Updated: 2 hours ago

Report: US to send caskets to NKorea to return war remains

South Korean media say the U.S. military plans to send 215 caskets to North Korea through a border village so that the North could begin the process of returning the remains of U.S. soldiers who have been missing since the 1950-53 Korean War
Updated: 2 hours ago
Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

Amid cheers and jubilation at the World Cup, human rights officials want to draw the world's attention to abuses in Russia
Updated: 2 hours ago
Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

Amid cheers and jubilation at the World Cup, human rights officials want to draw the world's attention to abuses in Russia
Updated: 2 hours ago
Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

Amid cheers and jubilation at the World Cup, human rights officials want to draw the world's attention to abuses in Russia
Updated: 2 hours ago

AP Top News at 2:28 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 2:28 a.m. EDT
Updated: 2 hours ago
Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7

Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7

Machado hits 2-run homer in 15th inning as Orioles beat Braves 10-7
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ex-S. Korean premier Kim Jong-pil, spy agency founder, dies

Ex-S. Korean premier Kim Jong-pil, spy agency founder, dies

Kim Jong-pil, who founded South Korea's spy agency and whose political skills earned him two tenures as prime minister, under his dictator boss and later under a man his agency once kidnapped, has died
Updated: 2 hours ago