Colon Cancer Screening

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Story Updated: Sep 20, 2013

.. the sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy...both provide protection. But which is better? That's the question posed in new research, just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Using data from almost 89-thousand participants, the researchers were able to track colon cancer test history over 22 years. Both colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy examine the colon through a fiber optic probe. Colonoscopy checks the entire colon, while the sigmoidoscopy only reaches the lower third on the left side of the body.

Over the course of the study, 1-thousand-815 cases of colorectal cancer and 4-hundred-74 colon cancer deaths were reported.

A negative result from either procedure reduced the risk of developing or dying from left-sided colorectal cancer, however only a colonoscopy significantly reduced cancer risk in the entire colon.

The researchers say their findings clearly show that colonoscopy has powerful advantages over sigmoidoscopy.

Current recommendations call for average risk people to begin colorectal screenings at age 50 options including either a sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, followed by a colonscopy if abnormalities are detected or a colonoscopy every 10 years.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with health information for healthier living.

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