The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2011 more
than 100,000 new cases of colon cancer and almost 40,000 cases of rectal cancer
were diagnosed, and that more than 49,000 people died from colon and rectal
For the first time, a new study has shown that removing
polyps by colonoscopy not only prevents colorectal cancer from developing, but also
prevents deaths from the disease. Patients in the study were evaluated for up
to 23 years after having the procedure, providing the longest follow-up results
to date. The collaborative study was published in the Feb. 23, 2012 issue of
"The New England Journal of Medicine."
Tumor-like growths called adenomatous polyps are the most
common abnormality found during colonoscopy screening and have the potential to
become cancerous. Previous research from these investigators showed that
removal of these polyps prevented colorectal cancer but it was not known
whether the cancers prevented were potentially lethal. This study assessed
whether removal of adenomatous polyps reduced colorectal cancer mortality - a
finding that would indicate that the polyps removed had the potential to
progress and cause cancer death.
It is recommended
that you have colonoscopy every 10 years starting at 50. If you are higher risk
such as having a strong family history you doctor may recommend them even more
often or starting at a younger age.
Dr. Doug Layton, D.O., Family Physicians at Prairie Trail.
Article courtesy of Ankeny Living Magazine.