Colonoscopy: Cancer risk reduced by 40 percent

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Every ten years for colonoscopy: Reduce cancer risk from colonoscopy by 40 percent

According to a new US study, mirroring the entire colon in people over the age of 50 every ten years could reduce the risk of cancer by 40 percent. However, relatives of colon cancer sufferers should be examined more frequently.

Lowering Cancer Risk by 40 Percent According to US scientists, mirroring the entire colon every ten years in over 50-year-olds could reduce the risk of cancer by 40 percent. In a contribution to the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers write that there has been insufficient evidence to date to what extent colonoscopy can prevent tumors in the lower and upper colon. It was also left open how often a mirroring must take place.

Long-term studies with almost 89,000 participants The scientists, including Shuji Ogino from Harvard University, analyzed the data from approximately 89,000 participants in two long-term studies in order to arrive at their results. In doing so, they based their conclusions on questionnaires that were collected every two years between 1988 and 2008. In total, they had 1,815 cases of colon cancer with 474 deaths.

Mirroring the entire intestine more effectively The investigations suggest that both the mirroring of the entire intestine (colonoscopy) and the so-called “small colonoscopy” are good means of prevention. This small reflection, sigmoidoscopy, examines the last section of the colon before the rectum. However, colonoscopy is considered to be more effective. If all of the study participants had undergone one, the risk of colon cancer would have decreased by 40 percent.

However, healthy nutrition as prevention experts see no clear evidence in such prospective observational studies. There may be other factors responsible for reducing colorectal cancer risk. For example, the willingness to take preventive measures alone could indicate a more pronounced health awareness, which also manifests itself in a healthy diet. And then this more sensible lifestyle could be the real reason for colon cancer prevention.

Shorter intervals for previous exercise Today's guidelines recommend repeating the colonoscopy after ten years. However, tests with shorter intervals may be necessary if there is a genetic pre-exposure. If colon cancer has already occurred in the family, this could be an indication of a corresponding previous burden. Many urologists also offer an immunological stool test to prevent colon cancer, which can be used to detect occult, i.e. hidden, blood. (ad)

Image: Dieter Schütz /

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