Colonoscopy can be life saving for those at risk of death from colorectal cancer

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Mar 14, 2018
Quick Bites

  • Patients who received a colonoscopy saw a 61% reduced risk of death from the disease
  • Colorectal cancer is characterized by the wild growth of abnormal cells in the rectum and the colon
  • It begins as a growth called a polyp on the inner lining of the colon or rectum

A new study has shown positive results for those suffering from colorectal cancer. Patients who received a colonoscopy saw a 61% reduced risk of death from the disease.

Colorectal cancer is characterized by the wild growth of abnormal cells in the rectum and the colon. It begins as a growth called a polyp on the inner lining of the colon or rectum.

Colonoscopy is widely used in the Veterans Affairs health system for colorectal cancer; investigators say that its effects on the colorectal cancer mortality rate were unknown.



For people aged 50 or above who are at an average risk of colorectal cancer are recommended to get a colonoscopy as a primary precaution.

In a colonoscopy, the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel are examined with the help of a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube which is passed through the anus.

For the study, around 4,900 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer and who died of the disease by the end of 2010 ware closely examined between 2002 and 2008.

The data of the case patients were compared to a control group of 19,856 people without a prior colorectal cancer diagnosis. It was found that colonoscopy was associated with reduced mortality from colorectal cancer and the link was stronger for people with left-sided cancer as compared to people with right-sided cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, the rate of colorectal cancer is at a rise in the young and middle-aged people.

The investigators pointed out that reducing variability in colonoscopy efficiency, especially against right-sided colorectal cancer, is vital to fighting against the disease.

The findings were reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine by the researchers who examined a national VA-Medicare database.

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