New Study Aims To Assess The Effectiveness Of Colonoscopy Screenings

Colonoscopy screenings are performed in order to assess the condition of the large intestine. They can help detect any abnormal growths or changes in these areas, which may be indicative of cancer (via Mayo Clinic). While colonoscopy screenings have been recommended for a long time, a new study has provided even further evidence to support how important they are. The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, involved 84,585 participants from Poland, Norway, and Sweden, none of whom had gotten a colonoscopy before. Some participants were invited to have the procedure done between 2009 and 2014 while others were not invited but still monitored.

The study found that after 10 years, the participants who were invited to get a colonoscopy screening had an 18% lower risk of developing colon cancer than the participants who did not get a screening. The study also found that those invited to get a colonoscopy screening had a lower risk of death from colon cancer, but the difference was small enough that it was not statistically significant. While the statistics suggest that it is beneficial to get colonoscopy screenings to reduce your risk of colon cancer, researchers still want more evidence to determine the effectiveness of colonoscopy screenings.

What you need to know about colon cancer

Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. It refers to cancer that has developed in the large intestine, also known as the colon (via Cleveland Clinic). The colon is a long, coiled tube that makes up the last part of the digestive system. It absorbs water and nutrients from food as it passes through the body.

Most colon cancers develop slowly over time. They start as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. These polyps can grow larger and turn into cancer over time. Colon cancer screening tests, or colonoscopy screenings, are important for early detection. Symptoms of colon cancer can include diarrhea, constipation, blood in the stool, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue. The disease is typically diagnosed through a combination of tests including a physical exam, blood tests, stool tests, and imaging scans like a CT scan or MRI. Treatment for colon cancer can include surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, chemotherapy drugs, or a combination of these treatments.