On September 19th, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that provides further documentation that colonoscopy saves lives and some of the clearest evidence to date that colonoscopy has advantages over sigmoidoscopy for the prevention of colorectal cancer.
“Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among men and women. However, colon cancer is often highly treatable. If it’s found and treated early, while it’s small and before it has spread, the 5-year survival rate is about 90%. But because many people are not getting tested, only about 4 out of 10 are diagnosed at this early stage when treatment is most likely to be successful.” – Cancer.org
The screening options compared in the study include sigmoidoscopy, a procedure that examines the lower portion of the large intestine, and colonoscopy, a procedure that examines the entire colon. Although the preparation for a sigmoidoscopy is easier than that of a colonoscopy, the benefits of having a full colonoscopy performed by a GI specialist offer a clear advantage in terms of possible prevention and treatment.
As is the case with many serious health conditions, prevention, early detection and treatment are vital to reducing the incidence of colon cancer and increasing survival rates for those individuals diagnosed with the disease.
A colonoscopy enables your specialist to view the entire colon, not just the lower portion.
This increases the likelihood that if something is wrong it will be detected. Also, during the procedure the physician can remove precancerous polyps or biopsy any suspicious lesions to make an accurate diagnosis.
At Regional Gi our experienced gastroenterologists provide the highest level of care and perform colonoscopies using CO2, which has been shown to reduce discomfort due to retained gas after the procedure.
If you are interested in learning more, read the American Gastroenterology Association full study here.
If you are interested in scheduling a colonoscopy, you can use our online scheduling form by clicking here, or by calling (717) 869-4600