colonoscopy

The Pros and Cons of Colonoscopies

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 135,000 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2012, and more than 51,500 died from it.

Men and women over the age of 50 at average risk of colorectal cancer are typically recommended to get tested either by:

        Fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) on an annual basis, to check for signs of blood in your stool
        Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
        Colonoscopy every 10 years

December 9, 2015 | Source: Mercola | by Dr. Mercola

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),1 nearly 135,000 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2012, and more than 51,500 died from it.

Men and women over the age of 50 at average risk of colorectal cancer are typically recommended to get tested either by:2

        Fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) on an annual basis, to check for signs of blood in your stool
        Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
        Colonoscopy every 10 years

Despite the fact that there are three acceptable screening methods, most doctors simply recommend colonoscopy, and researchers have found that in most instances, doctors completely fail to review all the options and the benefits and drawbacks of each with their patients.

In essence, most doctors simply choose for their patients, without going through the steps of informed consent, and most often they choose colonoscopy.

When Given Options, More People Go Through with Testing

Interestingly, recent research3 shows that when patients are allowed to choose the screening method, more people end up going through with the test. As reported by Reuters:4

“About 1,000 patients were divided into three groups and randomly assigned to get either FOBT or colonoscopy, or given a choice between the two options.

Over three years, 42 percent of participants given a choice between the tests followed through with screening and 38 percent of people assigned to get colonoscopies did so. Just 14 percent of the patients assigned to FOBT got the test done each year.”